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Writings on the Theory and Practice 
of Non-violent Resistance 

Edited with an Introduction and Afterword by 





First published 1963 by Quadrangle Books, Inc., 
180 North Wacker Drive, Chicago 6, 
and as a Doubleday Anchor Original 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 63-13081 
Copyright © 1963 by Mulford Q. Sibley 

All Rights Reserved 

Printed in the United States of America 

First Edition 

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission 
to reprint material in this book: 

to the Columbia University Press for sections of Anti-Dictator, 
by Etienne de La Boetie, translated by Harry Kurz, published 1942. 

to the Navajivan Trust for portions of Satyagraha in South Af- 
rica, by M. K. Gandhi. 

to The Christian Century Foundation, copyright holder, for "Is 
Coercion Ever Justifiable" by Kirby Page and "What Is Violence?" 
by George A. Coe. 

to Appleton-Century-Crofts for extracts from Non-violent Coer- 
cion, by C. M. Case, published 1923. 

to E. P. Dutton & Company, Inc., and Routledge & Kegan Paul, 
Ltd., for passages from The Conquest of Violence, by Barthelemy 
de Ligt, translated by Honor Tracy, Copyright 1937 by Bart, de 

to Richard B. Gregg, Fellowship Publications, James Clarke & 
Co., Ltd., and the Navajivan Trust for excerpts from The Power of 
Non-Violence, by Richard B. Gregg, Copyright 1934, 1959 by 
Richard B. Gregg. 

to the Shoe String Press, Inc., for extracts from Communism and 
the General Strike, by Wilfred H. Crook, Copyright 1960 by the 
Shoe String Press, Inc. 

to Peace News for "New Way in Norway," by A. K. Jameson, 
"Tyranny Could Not Quell Them," by Gene Sharp, and extracts 
from the Peace News Supplement of October 20, 1960. 

to Mrs. Arthur Griffith, copyright holder, for sections of The 
Resurrection of Hungary: A Parallel for Ireland, by Arthur Grif- 
fith, published in 1919. 

to Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc., and Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 
Ltd., for the excerpt from Vorkuta, by Joseph Scholmer, translated 


from the German by Robert Kee. Copyright 1954, © 1955 by Holt, 
Rinehart & Winston, Inc. 

to Harold Ober Associates, Inc., and Mrs. Sundari K. Shridharani, 
for selections from War Without Violence, by Krishnalal Shridha- 
rani, Copyright © 1939 by Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. 

to Yale University Press and Jonathan Cape, Ltd., for the selec- 
tion from Passive Resistance in South Africa, by Leo Kuper, Copy- 
right 1957 by Yale University Press. 

to C. Eric Lincoln and The Reporter for "The Strategy of a Sit- 
In," by C. Eric Lincoln, Copyright 1962 by The Reporter Maga- 
zine Company. 

to the New York Times and Martin Luther King, Jr., for "The 
Time for Freedom Has Come," by Martin Luther King, Jr., re- 
printed from the New York Times Magazine, Copyright by the 
New York Times. 

to the Committee for Non-violent Action and Neil Haworth for 
"Civil Disobedience at Newport News," by Neil Haworth. 

to the War Resisters League and Jessie Wallace Hughan for "Pa- 
cifism and Invasion," by Jessie Wallace Hughan. 

to Pendle Hill, Wallingford, Pennsylvania, and Cecil E. Hinshaw 
for "Non-violent Resistance: A Nation's Way to Peace," by Cecil 
E. Hinshaw, Pendle Hill Pamphlet No. 88. 







1 Ancient Religious Statements 11 — . ' 

2 Etienne de La Boetie: Voluntary Servitude 18 — 

-3 William Godwin and Percy B. Shelley: Freedom 

and Non-violence 21 

4 Henry D. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience and Non- 
violent Resistance 25 

5 Mohandas K. Gandhi: The Origins of Satyagraha 
Doctrine 30 ' 

6 George Coe and Kirby Page: Violence, Non-vio- 
lence, and the Uses of Coercion 46 

^T *y^ 55^ C. M. Case: The Social Significance of Non-vio- 
lent Conduct 55 

8 Richard Gregg: Non-violence, the State, and War 67 


9 Barthelemy de Ligt: The Effectiveness of Non- 
violent Struggle 88 

10 Theodor Mommsen: A Revolutionary Strike in 
Ancient Rome 108 

11 Flavius Josephus: Jewish Non-violence and Ro- 
man Military Power 111 

Wilfred H. Crook: The General Strike and Non- 
violent Power 116 

"13 Arthur Griffith: The Resurrection of Hungary 137 

14 A. K. Jameson and Gene Sharp: Non-violent Re- 
sistance and the Nazis: The Case of Norway 156 

15 Joseph Scholmer: Vorkuta: Strike in a Concen- 
tration Camp 187 




16 Isaac Sharpless: Colonial Pennsylvania: The 
Quest for Non-violence 210 

17 John Fiske: Las Casas and the Land of War 231 

"" 18 Krishnalal Shridharani: Applied Satyagraha in 

India 236 

.19 Leo Kuper and Albert Luthuli: South Africa: 

The Beginning of Non-violent Resistance 256 

— — 20 C. Eric Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.: 

Non-violence and the American Negro 288 

21 Neil Haworth and Peace News: Direct Action 

against Preparation for War 305 

'22 Jessie Wallace Hughan and Cecil Hinshaw: To- 
ward a Non-violent National Defense 316 

Concluding Reflections 357 

For Further Reading 379 

Index 382 



This book is about the problem of struggling against in- 
justice without the use of violence. 

In our day— as perhaps in most epochs— the major issues of 
injustice are two: the danger of military invasion, and eco- 
nomic and social exploitation within nations. How can we pre- 
vent military invasion or, if it occurs, overcome it? How can 
we undermine exploitative economic and social systems? 

With respect to military invasion, the traditional answer has 
been that we must threaten and ultimately use counter-violence. 
For the most part, nations have assumed an almost complete 
identity between "military defense" and defense. Today when 
we think of defense of the United States, we automatically be- 
gin to consider military postures and cannot conceive of a na- 
tion being defended except by military means. 

Domestically, too, the answer to exploitation and social in- 
justice has frequently been violence and often civil war. The 
great revolutions of modern times were efforts through use of 
violent force to correct domestic injustice, whether it took an 
economic or a social form. This was true of the French Revo- 
lution and, more recently, of the Russian and Chinese revolu- 
tions; today violence in the cause of revolution is ubiquitous. 

Despite the fact, however, that we have so frequently 
turned to violence as a method of resisting military invasion 
and correcting social injustice, we have also had in our tradi- 
tion a strong emphasis on the values of non-violent conduct. 
Whether in religious ethics or in secularist morals, we have 
held up the ideal of non-violent action. We have attempted to 
establish political institutions which would minimize violence, 
and democracy has often been held to be the political form 
which most nearly prevents resort to violence. Our everyday 
life, moreover, is mostly free of overt violence, whatever the 
psychiatrists may say about the potential violence within us. 

Thus there has been a conflict between, on the one hand, 
our actions in using violence to resist invasion and correct in- 
justice and, on the other, our repudiation of violence in our 


statements of ethical principle and ordinary life. We have 
sought to justify this violation of our professed beliefs by say- 
ing that certain evils can be opposed effectively, if reluctantly, 
only through war or violent revolution (both democrats and 
totalitarians will defend certain wars and violent revolutions, 
although they may not agree on those which deserve support). 
Every war is held to be defensive: no modern nation will ever 
say that it is waging an aggressive war. And the violence used 
in revolutions by those who oppose injustice is always said to 
be a last resort: the ruling classes, it is usually argued, have left 
the revolutionists no other alternative (Americans defend the 
violent overthrow of British rule in the eighteenth century just 
as Russians argue that violence was essential to overthrow the 

In this book, the major argument is that there is an alterna- 
tive to violence, both for purposes of external defense and in 
correcting social injustice. We do not have to be divided psy- 
chologically, so to speak, between our theoretical repudiation 
of violence, on the one hand, and our actual resort to violence 
in war and social struggle, on the other. Nor do we have to 
acquiesce in the covert violence of many governments and so- 
cial systems because we fear that action on our part might lead 
to violence. We can, so the major argument goes on, both 
keep our ethical ideal relatively uncorrupted and at the same 
time overcome invaders and correct social injustice. In fact, 
we can in the long run accomplish these objectives better 
through non-violence than through violence, even against "to- 
talitarian" systems. Violence, the argument maintains, makes 
more difficult the defense of a community and the achievement / 
of social justice. Not only can the United States be defended 
non-violently against the Soviet Union, but it can be defended 
better without military force than with military force. Not only 
can American Negroes and South African Zulus gain equality 
through non-violent power, but the utilization of violence for 
such ends constitutes a hindrance. _-^*' 

Thus the advocates of non-violence seek to bridge the gap 
between our professed beliefs and our frequent resort to vio- 
lence. In trying to work out techniques and strategies of non- 
violent power, they endeavor to show us how we can keep our 
integrity as human beings both with respect to means and in 
relation to ends; we do not need to threaten to destroy millions 
of human beings through H-bombs in order to defend a nation. 
In fact, we cannot really defend any nation through such 


means— at least in modern times. Non-violent defense of some 
kind is an imperative if we are to survive as civilized human 
beings. We must eliminate the old identification of national de- 
fense with military defense and discover means of defense that 
will no longer rely on the military. To attempt to defend a na- 
tion by military means under modern conditions is to run the 
risk of throwing out the baby with the bath; or, to change the 
figure, to produce roast pig by burning down one's house. 

But what is this method of non-violent action and defense? 
What are its foundations in thought? Has it ever been tried? If 
it has been tried, has it been successful? If so, to what degree? 
If not, why not? These are some of the questions for which 
this book attempts to provide, if not answers, at least materials 
on the basis of which answers may be developed. 

The book is divided into three parts, each of which is pre- 
ceded by a brief introduction outlining the major questions 
with which the part is concerned. Within each part are a num- 
ber of readings, with an introductory statement attached to 

In the first part— foundations of non-violence and non- 
violent resistance— some of the theoretical problems of 
non-violent action are explored and an effort is made to deal 
with questions that are often asked about it. Reference is 
made, too, to the religious and ethical tradition upon which 
many doctrines of non-violence have been built. 

CIPLE— the readings present case studies of situations in which 
men have resorted to collective non-violent power without 
having any elaborate philosophy to guide them; often they 
acted in this way simply because the instruments of violence 
were not available. 


gives instances of social struggle or examples of societies con- 
sciously motivated by some version of the philosophy of non- 
violence. It concludes by asking how a large nation-state might 
act were it to be converted to the ideas of non-violence and 
non-violent resistance. 

In "Concluding Reflections," we present a brief recapitula- 
tion and suggest some of the problems with which a doctrine of 
non-violence and a strategy of non-violent resistance must al- 
ways be concerned. 



The term "non-violence" in itself is ambiguous and has, in 
fact, several different shadings of meaning. In general, of 
course, it implies an attitude of repugnance to the use of vio- 
lence—a repugnance that is very widespread. More specifically, 
however, the term indicates bodies of belief or theory which 
assert that even if one party to a conflict utilizes violence, the 
other should respond non-violently. In other words, violent 
action does not justify retaliation in terms of violence. This con- 
clusion is reached either on religious grounds (some kind of a 
commitment to the proposition that violence is always wrong 
in itself) or on what might be called grounds of utility (it 
doesn't work, particularly in the long run), or on a combina- 
tion of the two. 

Distinctions are often made, too, between the personal ethic 
of non-violence and its political significance. Thus certain 
groups— like the Mennonites— think of it as a personal religious 
commitment and, in fact, argue that it cannot be a strategic 
instrument of politics. Groups of this kind passively obey the 
State so long as it does not require them to perform positive 
acts that run counter to their non-violent professions. Taxes 
may be paid, but there can be no active participation in office 
and no entering of the army— both of which are regarded as 
participations in violence. Non-violence of this kind is some- 
times called "non-resistance"— although the terms used vary. 1 
"Resistance" is anathema, reminding one as it does of war. 

Non-violence in a political sense is usually associated with 
the term "non-violent resistance"— the deliberate use of collec- 
tive non-violent techniques (the strike, boycott, fast, civil dis- 
obedience, and so on) as devices either for changing the atti- 
tude of the opponent or for compelling him without violence to 
reach some kind of compromise or resolution of the conflict. 
Sometimes non-violent resistance is called "non-violent coer- 
cion," for there would seem to be something approaching 
what we usually call coercion in such acts of resistance. 

But this broad differentiation between non-resistance and 
non-violent resistance is rfot always clear in the writings of 
those who deal with the theory of non-violence. Gandhi in a 
reading in this Part seems to make little distinction between the 

1 On the Mennonite position see, for example, Guy F. Hersh- 
berger, War, Peace, and Nonresistance (Scottdale, Pennsylvania: 
Herald Press, 1944). 


two, unless one identifies "passive resistance" (in his sense) 
with "non-violent resistance" and "non-resistance" with Satya- 
graha— and this identification does not seem to be warranted. 
Many writers would think of the early Christian attitudes (note 
the excerpt from Origen— Reading 1) as "non-resistance," yet 
Gandhi seems to think they resemble Satyagraha— or soul force 
—which he certainly used politically. 

The problem of defining violence itself is not an easy one 
and is dealt with in several of the readings presented here (Coe, 
Page, Gandhi, for example). Some would seem to identify it 
with the use of any physical force (Gandhi), while others 
would not draw the line between physical and non-physical 
force (Coe, Page). Most writers would, however, agree that 
war is a species of violence; and no doubt there would also be 
widespread agreement on the nature of other acts as well. But 
this is still a problem for the doctrine of non-violence. 

More positively, the readings in Part I seek to deal with the 
ways in which opponents in a struggle can be influenced by 
actions that repudiate what might generally be regarded as vio- 
lence. In opposing exploitation, social injustice, or invasion, 
several of the readings suggest that the opponent can indeed 
undergo a change of attitude, which will be brought about by 
his awareness of the voluntary suffering undergone by the ex- 
ponents of non-violence or by his increasing consciousness of 
his own irrationality. But there is also the argument that even 
though the opponent's attitudes are not fundamentally changed, 
non-violent resistance can win away his supporters, thus un- 
dermining his power to wield violence, or at least make his 
position so inconvenient that he is willing to compromise or 
make concessions. In any given instance, perhaps, there may 
be elements that evoke a change in the basic attitude of the op- 
ponent as well as appeal to his self-interest. All exponents of 
non-violence are agreed that if its followers are dedicated and 
adhere to their creed, the probability of reaching a satisfactory 
agreement with the opponent is much greater than it would 
have been had violence been used. The religious advocates of 
non-violence would probably say that this is because the means 
are intrinsically "right"; because they are "right" they lead to 
"good" results. Those who emphasize the utilitarian approach 
might contend that on the basis of experience (whether in 
treatment of criminals, invasion, or resistance to injustice, as 
with Gregg in Reading 8) it simply "works" better than vio- 
lent approaches. 


In the theory of non-violence, particularly as expressed in 
the doctrine of non-violent resistance, it is emphasized that 
structures of power (governments, social organizations) al- 
ways depend upon the voluntary co-operation of great num- 
bers of individuals even when the structures seem to rely on 
physical force. The chief wielders of power, in other words, 
must have the assistance and co-operation of hundreds or even 
thousands of persons for the administration of physical force. 
The task of those who oppose a structure having physical 
force at its command is, therefore, to persuade hundreds of 
men to refuse any longer to co-operate with the tyrant or other 
administrator of violence. (Godwin, Shelley, and de La Boetie, 
among others, emphasize this theme.) The question then be- 
comes: How does one induce police administrators, soldiers, 
clerks, heads of departments, and others to desert the tyrant? 
Exponents of non-violent power believe this task is hindered 
by resort to counter-violence; for threat of violence simply 
leads followers of the tyrant to support him the more for the 
sake of their own defense. Non-violent organized opposition, 
on the other hand, by confronting the wielder of violent power 
with an unexpected kind of opposition, takes him off guard 
and, by appealing to the sympathies of his followers, deprives 
him of his instruments. This analysis of the nature of power 
leads many exponents of non-violence to conclude that if the 
devotees of non-violence are well-organized and disciplined 
and willing to suffer, they can always have an important effect 
in checking social injustice and in frustrating possible gains of 
military invasion. This notion is particularly emphasized in the 
reading by Gregg. 

An important idea in the theory of political non-violence is 
that under modern circumstances, non-violence affords the only 
real possibility of checking tyranny. Where constitutional 
forms of government are preserved, non-violence takes the 
form of ordinary political activities, votes, and discussion 
which nip the tyranny in the bud. Where constitutional forms 
have declined and ordinary democratic methods are no longer 
available, non-violence assumes the guise of non-violent re- 
sistance. Even where constitutional forms are preserved, mi- 
norities may be exploited and forced to resort to non-violent 
resistance for the sake of both justice and self-protection. In 
either case, non-violent resistance is a particularly vital weapon 
today because the instruments of violence (tanks, H-bombs, 
missiles, and so on) have become so expensive that rebel 


groups simply cannot afford them. Moreover, weapons are 
now so destructive that any resort to violence, whether in in- 
ternational relations or in internal social conflict, almost al- 
ways promises greater loss— whoever is the victor— than gain 
(if one reckons gain and loss socially and includes both ma- 
terial and non-material factors). 

The readings in this Part, in sum, lay the groundwork for 
thinking about specific instances of non-violent resistance. 
These instances will be developed in the subsequent two Parts. 


Ancient religious writings contain many statements which 
have frequently inspired thinkers about non-violent power. 
Mohandas Gandhi felt that parts of the Hindu scriptures (the 
Bhagavad-Gita and the Upanishads, for example) sustained 
his doctrine of soul force. Similar claims have been made for 
parts of the Buddhist scriptures. 

Here we present brief extracts from ancient Taoist and Jew- 
ish scriptures and well-known passages from the New Testa- 
ment. We also include selections from the early Christian 
apologist Origen and an excerpt from the trial transcript of a 
third-century Christian who refused military service on reli- 
gious grounds. 

Lao-tzu (sixth century B.C.), author of the Tao Te Ching, 
from which our first section is taken, was the founder of the 
world outlook, or religion, known as Taoism and had a con- 
siderable influence on Chinese culture. In the extracts pre- 
sented here 1 he places his emphasis on love, moderation, and 
a non-violent way of life. Somewhat paradoxically— at least to 
ordinary ways of looking at things— he thinks that the person 
(whether private individual or ruler) who is most loving, hum- 
ble, and harmless is in the long run most powerful. Lao-tzu 
obviously exalts the ethic of non-retaliation. 

Among the ancient Jews, there was a belief that Yahweh, or 
the Lord, was more powerful in protecting the Israelites than 
chariots and horsemen; that doing justice was in the long run 
more efficacious in preventing injurious conflict than reliance 
on the repressive military force of the State. Among the great 
prophets— the two Isaiahs, Jeremiah, Amos, Hosea, Zechariah 
—Utopian visions of a world in which men regulated their af- 
fairs in accordance with the instructions of the Lord were not 
uncommon. While these visions are subject to varying interpre- 
tations, some see in the later prophets (men like Jeremiah and 

1 Translation by James Legge in Sacred Books of the East (Ox- 
ford University Press, 1891), Vols. 39 and 40. 


the second Isaiah) anticipations of the general ethic of non- 
violence and even of specific notions of non-violent resistance. 
Thus Jeremiah advised the residents of Judah not to resist the 
Babylonians by military force and was looked upon by most of 
the political leaders of Judah as unpatriotic. And much later 
on, the Jewish sect of the Essenes, or at least some communi- 
ties of the sect, apparently repudiated violence on principle 
and developed an ethic of non-violence. There is some specula- 
tion that Jesus may have been influenced by the Essenes. Our 
passages from the Old Testament are taken from the prophecy 
of the first Isaiah (who flourished in the eighth century B.C.) 
and from Zechariah (who lived in the sixth century B.C.). 

In the selections from the New Testament, Jesus develops 
the ethic of non-retaliation and love of enemies and commands 
one of his followers to put up the sword with which he has just 
cut off the ear of the high priest's servant. Then occur the well- 
known words: "All they that take the sword shall perish with 
the sword" (Matthew 26:52). This statement has often been 
taken as a text by those who point to the long-run futility of all 
violence: to reply to violence with counter-violence simply per- 
petuates a cycle of violence from which mankind can never be 
liberated. Paul's statement in Romans 12:17-21 continues this 

The early Christians, and particularly their intellectual lead- 
ers, were very much troubled by the problem of violence and 
war. According to one of the leading scholars of the subject, 
Adolf von Harnack, they probably refused to enter the army— 
or left military service on conversion— until relatively late. We 
do not definitely hear of Christians in the army until the reign 
of Marcus Aurelius (a.d. 161-80). When they did join the 
army, it was against the advice of such early Christian writers 
as Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian, and the re- 
nowned scholar Origen (a.d. 185-254). Service in war meant 
killing fellow human beings and perhaps executing convicted 
criminals, another form of deliberate killing. Moreover, one 
had to take an oath of unqualified allegiance to the emperor 
and thus deny the supreme authority of Christ. 2 

Our reading from Origen illustrates the way in which many 
early Christians undoubtedly reasoned. The selection is taken 

2 For a thorough discussion of the early Christian rejection of 
war and violence, see Cecil John Cadoux, The Early Church and 
the World (New York: Scribner, 1925). 


from Origen's famous treatise, Contra Celsum? in which he 
answers charges against Christianity brought by the pagan 
writer Celsus. One of Celsus's most serious allegations was that 
Christians refused to join the imperial armies. Origen in effect 
admits that this is true: Christians cannot enter the armies of 
the emperor because loyalty to Jesus forbids them to partici- 
pate in war. But this does not mean that Christians cannot help 
the emperor, he continues; for by refusing to participate in vio- 
lence and attempting to convert others (including the barbar- 
ians) to this view, they eliminate violent opposition to the em- 
peror and thus remove his excuse for using violence. 

Although most early Christian martyrs went to their deaths 
for refusing to participate in what they regarded as the cult of 
emperor worship, some were killed by the State for their ada- 
mant stand against military service. This was true even after 
most Christians had begun to abandon their early opposition to 
military violence. Thus in a.d. 295, Maximilianus was ordered 
to enter the army under a law that made him liable for service 
as the son of a soldier. The transcript of his hearing before the 
Roman proconsul has been preserved and our reading ends 
with an excerpt from it. 4 

From the TAO TE CH1NG 

The partial becomes complete; the crooked, straight; the 
empty, full; the worn out, new. He whose desires are few gets 
them; he whose desires are many goes astray. 

Therefore the sage holds in his embrace the one thing of 
humility, and manifests it to all the world. He is free from 
self-display, and therefore he shines; from self-assertion, and 
therefore he is distinguished; from self-boasting, and there- 
fore his merit is acknowledged; from self-complacency, and 
therefore he acquires superiority. It is because he is thus free 
from striving that therefore no one in the world is able to 
strive with him. 

If any one should wish to get the kingdom for himself, and 
to effect this by what he does, I see that he will not succeed. 

3 Translation by Rev. Frederick Crombie in Rev. Alexander Rob- 
erts and James Donaldson, editors, Ante-Nicene Christian Library, 
(Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1872), Vol. XXIII. 

4 From the original Latin transcript of the hearing reprinted in 
Adolf von Harnack, Militia Christi: Die Christliche Religion und 
der Soldatenstand in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten (Tubingen: 
Verlag von J. C. B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck], 1905), pp. 114-17. 


The kingdom is a spiritlike thing, and cannot be got by active 
doing. He who would win it destroys it; he who would hold it 
in his grasp loses it. 

He who would assist a lord of men in harmony with the 
Tao will not assert his mastery in the kingdom by force of 
arms. Such a course is sure to meet with its proper return. 

Wherever a host is stationed, briars and thorns spring up. 
In the sequence of great armies there are sure to be bad years. 

Passages from THE OLD TESTAMENT 

Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on 
horses and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in 
horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not 
unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord! 

Yet he also is wise and will bring evil, and will not call back 
his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and 
against the help of them that work iniquity. 

Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses 
flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out his hand, 
both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall 
down, and they shall all fail together. (Isaiah 31:1-3) 

And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked 
me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. 

And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have 
looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon 
the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to 
the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: 

And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the 
bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 

So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, 
saying, What are these, my lord? 

Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto 
me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the 
word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor 
by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. (Zecha- 
riah 4:1-6) 

Passages from THE NEW TESTAMENT 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the 
children of God. 


... I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall 
exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall 
in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou 
shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the 

But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his 
brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judg- 
ment. . . . 

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and 
a tooth for a tooth: 

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever 
shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 

And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy 
coat, let him have thy cloak also. 

And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him 

Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would bor- 
row of thee turn not thou away. 

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that 
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them 
which despitefully use you, and persecute you: 

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in 
heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the 
good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? 
do not even the publicans the same? 

And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than 
others? do not even the publicans so? 

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in 
heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:9, 20-22, 38-48) 

. . . Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took 

And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched 
out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the 
high priest's, and smote off his ear. 

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his 
place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the 
sword. (Matthew 26:50-52) 

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest 
in the sight of all men. 


If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with 
all men. 

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place 
unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, 
saith the Lord. 

Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give 
him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his 

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Ro- 
mans 12:17-21) 


... To those who inquire of us whence we come, or who is 
our founder, we reply that we are come, agreeably to the 
counsels of Jesus, to "cut down our hostile and insolent 
'wordy' swords into ploughshares, and to convert into pruning- 
hooks the spears formerly employed in war." For we no 
longer take up "sword against nation," nor do we "learn war 
any more," having become children of peace, for the sake of 
Jesus, who is our leader, instead of those whom our fathers 
followed, among whom we were "strangers to the covenant," 
and having received a law, for which we give thanks to Him 
that rescued us from the error of our ways. . . . 

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Celsus goes on to say: "We must not disobey the ancient 
writer, who said long ago, 'Let one be king, whom the son of 
crafty Saturn appointed' "; and adds: "If you set aside this 
maxim, you will deservedly suffer for it at the hands of the 
king. For if all were to do the same as you, there would be 
nothing to prevent his being left to utter solitude and deser- 
tion, and the affairs of the earth would fall into the hands of 
the wildest and most lawless barbarians; and then there would 
no longer remain among men any of the glory of your religion 
or of the true wisdom." . . . If, in the words of Celsus, "they 
do as I do," then it is evident that even the barbarians, when 
they yield obedience to the word of God, will become most 
obedient to the law, and most humane. . . . 

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But if all the Romans, according to the supposition of Cel- 
sus, embrace the Christian faith, they will, when they pray, 
overcome their enemies; or rather, they will not war at all, 
being guarded by that divine power which promised to save 
five entire cities for the sake of fifty just persons. For men of 
God are assuredly the salt of the earth: they preserve the 
order of the world; and society is held together as long as the 
salt is uncorrupted. . . . 


In the next place, Celsus urges us "to help the king with ail 
our might, and to labour with him in the maintenance of 
justice, to fight for him; and if he requires it, to fight under 
him, or lead an army along with him." To this our answer 
is that we do, when occasion requires, give help to kings . . 
To those enemies of our faith who require us to bear arms for 
the commonwealth, and to slay men, we can reply: "As we by 
our prayers vanquish all demons who stir up war, and lead to 
the violation of oaths, and disturb the peace, we in this way 
are much more helpful to the kings than those who go into the 
field to fight for them. . . . And none fight better for the 
king than we do. We do not indeed fight under him, although 
he require it; but we fight on his behalf, forming a special 
army ... by offering our prayers to God. 


The Proconsul Dion said: "What are you called?" 

Maximilianus answered: "But why do you want to know 
my name? I dare not fight, since I am a Christian." 

The Proconsul Dion said: "Measure him." 

But on being measured Maximilianus answered: "I cannot 
fight, I cannot do evil; I am a Christian." 

The Proconsul Dion said: "Measure him." 

And after he had been measured, the attendant read out: 
"He is five feet ten." 

Dion said to the official: "Sign him up." 

And Maximilianus cried out: "I won't; I cannot be a sol- 

Dion said: "Get into the war-service or it will cost you your 

Maximilianus answered: "I do no war-service. ... I do 
no war-service to this age, but I do war-service for my God." 


Dion to Maximilianus: "Serve and accept the badge" [the 
leaden badge with the Emperor's effigy on it and worn by all 

Maximilianus answered: "I do not accept the badge; for I 
have the badge of Christ my God. 

... I will accept no badge from this age. ... I am a 
Christian and can wear no trumpery bit of lead around my 
neck, now that I already bear the saving sign of my Lord Jesus 
Christ. ..." 

2. Etienne de La Boetie: 

In 1548, a French youth of eighteen wrote an essay which 
has become a classic in the literature of non-violence. The 
young man was Etienne de La Boetie and the treatise was 
called Discours de la servitude volontaire or Discourse on Vol- 
untary Servitude. The following reading is an excerpt from the 

La Boetie was born at Sarlat in the Dordogne on Novem- 
ber 1, 1530, and was graduated from the University of Tou- 
louse law school in 1553. Throughout his boyhood and youth 
he was fond of Greek and Roman classics and particularly of 
the literature that treated of tyranny and its causes. The writ- 
ing of his famous essay was apparently his way of acknowl- 
edging his debt to the classics, for it abounds in allusions to 
events in ancient history and in references to the authors of 

On graduating from law school, he became a judge and was 
noted for his efforts to reconcile Protestants with Catholics in 
the religious struggles which were beginning to darken the 
horizon. When Michel de L'Hopital, the Chancellor of France, 
issued a charter in 1562 granting certain freedoms to Prot- 
estants, the young judge approved heartily; for although he re- 
mained a devout Roman Catholic down to the day of his early 
death in 1563, he was distressed by the wars of religion, which 
had begun in 1560 and were to continue with some interrup- 
tions until the Edict of Nantes in 1598. La Boetie was ap- 
parently a young man of unusual charm and kindness and 
throughout his brief life tried in every way possible both to op- 
pose violence and to resist tyranny. 

In his essay he points out that basically men create their own 
tyrants— whether domestic or foreign— by giving obedience to 
them, usually from hopes of personal gain. Once this obedi- 
ence is undercut, tyranny will collapse; for the tyrant always 
needs instruments and if he cannot find them he can no longer 
rule. Tyranny reposes on "voluntary servitude." 


Our reading is taken from Harry Kurz's translation of the 
Discours de la servitude volontaire, published as Anti-Dictator 
(Columbia University Press, 1942). 

... I should like merely to understand how it happens that 
so many men, so many villages, so many cities, so many na- 
tions, sometimes suffer under a single tyrant who has no other 
power than the power they give him; who is able to harm 
them only to the extent to which they have the willingness to 
bear with him; who could do them absolutely no injury unless 
they preferred to put up with him rather than contradict him. 
Surely a striking situation! 

. . . Who could believe reports of what goes on every day 
among the inhabitants of some countries, who could really be- 
lieve that one man alone may mistreat a hundred thousand 
and deprive them of their liberty? Who would credit such a 
report if he merely heard it, without being present to witness^ 
the event? Obviously there is no need of fighting to overcome " 
this single tyrant, for he is automatically defeated if the coun- 
try refuses consent to its own enslavement: it is not necessary 
to deprive him of anything, but simply to give him nothing; 
there is no need that the country make an effort to do anything 
for itself provided it does nothing against itself. It is therefore 
the inhabitants themselves who permit, or, rather, bring about, 
their own subjection, since by ceasing to submit they would 
put an end to their servitude. A people enslaves itself, cuts its 
own throat, when, having a choice between being vassals and 
being free men, it deserts its liberties and takes on the yoke, 
gives consent to its own misery, or, rather, apparently wel- 
comes it. If it cost the people anything to recover its freedom, 
I should not urge action to this end, although there is nothing 
a human should hold more dear than the restoration of his 
own natural right, to change himself from a beast of burden 
back to a man, so to speak. I do not demand of him so much 
boldness; let him prefer the doubtful security of living wretch- 
edly to the uncertain hope of living as he pleases. . . . 

Everyone knows that the fire from a little spark will in- 
crease and blaze ever higher as long as it finds wood to burn; 
yet without being quenched by water, but merely by finding no 
more fuel to feed on, it consumes itself, dies down, and is no 
longer in flame. Similarly, the more tyrants pillage, the more 
they crave, the more they ruin and destroy; the more one 
yields to them, and obeys them, by that much do they become 
mightier and more formidable, the readier to annihilate and 
destroy. But if not one thing is yielded to them, if, without any 


violence they are simply not obeyed, they become naked and 
undone and as nothing, just as, when the root receives no 
nourishment, the branch withers and dies. 

... It is not the troops on horseback, it is not the com- 
panies afoot, it is not arms that defend the tyrant. This does 
not seem credible on first thought, but it is nevertheless true 
that there are only four or five who maintain the dictator, four 
or five who keep the country in bondage to him. Five or six 
have always had access to his ear, and have either gone to him 
of their own accord, or else have been summoned by him, to 
be accomplices in his cruelties, companions in his pleasures, 
panders to his lusts, and sharers in his plunders. These six 
manage their chief so successfully that he comes to be held 
accountable not only for his own misdeeds but even for theirs. 
The six have six hundred who profit under them, and with the 
six hundred they do what they have accomplished with their 
tyrant. The six hundred maintain under them six thousand, 
whom they promote in rank, upon whom they confer the 
government of provinces or the direction of finances, in order 
that they may serve as instruments of avarice and cruelty, exe- 
cuting orders at the proper time and working such havoc all 
around that they could not last except under the shadow of the 
six hundred, nor be exempt from law and punishment except 
through their influence. 

3. William Godwin and Percy B. Shelley: 

Like Etienne de La Boetie, the great eighteenth-century po- 
litical philosopher William Godwin (1756-1836) held that if 
men are subject to tyranny it is because the great mass agree 
to be tyrannically ruled. In his monumental An Enquiry Con- 
cerning Political Justice (1793), from which our reading is 
taken, Godwin asserted that the best way to effect a revolution 
in any political system— whether it was imposed by foreigners 
or was of native origin— was to change through persuasion the 
opinion on which all government is founded. He went on to 
discuss the corruption of ends that results from using violence 
as a means to freedom and to point out the futility of both war 
and tyrannicide. Never denying that reliance on truth and 
reason called for sacrifices, Godwin advanced cogent reasons 
why such sacrifices would not be vain. 

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), the eminent early 
nineteenth-century poet, thoroughly agreed. Shelley was God- 
win's son-in-law, and some have maintained that parts of his 
work are simply Godwin's prose transformed into poetry. This 
is particularly true of his The Masque of Anarchy, sections of 
which are reprinted as the second portion of this reading. 
Shelley wrote The Masque after reading about the Peterloo 
Massacre, an incident in 1819 when British troops fired on 
and killed peaceful demonstrators protesting their economic 
lot during the depression following the Napoleonic wars. The 
government headed by the Duke of Wellington met requests 
for a redress of grievances only with hostility and violence, 
and Shelley saw an occasion for celebrating the theory and 
practice of Godwinian non-violence as the weapons most ap- 
propriate for those who would enlarge personal freedom and 
protect national autonomy. 


There is no such disparity among the human race as to en- 
able one man to hold several other men in subjection, except 


so far as they are willing to be subject. All government is 
founded in opinion. Men at present live under any particular 
form, because they conceive it their interest to do so. One 
part indeed of a community or empire may be held in sub- 
jection by force; but this cannot be the personal force of their 
despot; it must be the force of another part of the community, 
who are of opinion that it is their interest to support his au- 
thority. Destroy this opinion, and the fabric which is built 
upon it falls to the ground. (Bk. II, Ch. IV) 

To return to the enquiry respecting the mode of effecting 
revolutions. If no question can be more important, there is 
fortunately no question perhaps that admits of a more com- 
plete and satisfactory general answer. The revolutions of 
states, which a philanthropist would desire to witness, or in 
which he would willingly co-operate, consist principally in a 
change of sentiments and dispositions in the members of those 
states. The true instruments for changing the opinions of men 
are argument and persuasion. The best security for an ad- 
vantageous issue is free and unrestricted discussion. In that 
field truth must always prove the successful champion. If then 
we would improve the social institutions of mankind, we must 
write, we must argue, we must converse. To this business there 
is no close; in this pursuit there should be no pause. Every 
method should be employed— not so much positively to allure 
the attention of mankind, or persuasively to invite them to the 
adoption of our opinions— as to remove every restraint upon 
thought, and to throw open the temple of science and the field 
of enquiry to all the world. 

Those instruments will always be regarded by the discern- 
ing mind as suspicious, which may be employed with equal 
prospect of success on both sides of every question. This con- 
sideration should make us look with aversion upon all re- 
sources of violence. When we descend into the listed field, we 
of course desert the vantage ground of truth, and commit the 
decision to uncertainty and caprice. The phalanx of reason is 
invulnerable; it advances with deliberate and determined pace; 
and nothing is able to resist it. But when we lay down our ar- 
guments, and take up our swords, the case is altered. Amidst 
the barbarous pomp of war and the clamorous din of civil 
brawls, who can tell whether the event shall be prosperous or 
miserable? (Bk. IV, Ch. II) 

Because individuals were liable to error, and suffered their 
apprehensions of justice to be perverted by a bias in favour of 
themselves, government was instituted. Because nations were 


susceptible of a similar weakness, and could find no sufficient 
umpire to whom to appeal, war was introduced. Men were in- 
duced deliberately to seek each other's lives, and to adjudge 
the controversies between them, not according to the dictates 
of reason and justice, but as either should prove most success- 
ful in devastation and murder. This was no doubt in the first 
instance the extremity of exasperation and rage. But it has 
since been converted into a trade. One part of the nation pays 
another part to murder and be murdered in their stead; and 
the most trivial causes, a supposed insult or a sally of youthful 
ambition, have sufficed to deluge provinces with blood. 

We can have no adequate idea of this evil, unless we visit, 
at least in imagination, a field of battle. Here men deliberately 
destroy each other by thousands without any resentment 
against or even knowledge of each other. The plain is strewed 
with death in all its various forms. Anguish and wounds dis- 
play the diversified modes in which they can torment the hu- 
man frame. Towns are burned, ships are blown up in the air 
while the mangled limbs descend on every side, the fields are 
laid desolate, the wives of the inhabitants exposed to brutal in- 
sult, and their children driven forth to hunger and nakedness. 
It would be despicable to mention, along with these scenes of 
horror, and the total subversion of all ideas of moral justice 
they must occasion in the auditors and spectators, the im- 
mense treasures which are wrung in the form of taxes from 
those inhabitants whose residence is at a distance from the 
scene. (Bk. V, Ch. XVI) 

Percy B. Shelley: CALM AND RESOLUTE 

Let a vast assembly be, 

And with great solemnity 

Declare with measured words that ye 

Are, as God has made ye, free— 

Be your strong and simple words 
Keen to wound as sharpened swords, 
And wide as targes let them be, 
With their shade to cover ye. 

Let the tyrants pour around 
With a quick and startling sound, 
Like the loosening of a sea, 
Troops of armed emblazonry. 

Let the charged artillery drive 
Till the dead air seems alive 


With the clash of clanging wheels, 
And the tramp of horses' heels. 

Let the fixed bayonet 
Gleam with sharp desire to wet 
Its bright point in English blood 
Looking keen as one for food. 

Let the horsemen's scymitars 
Wheel and flash, like sphereless stars 
Thirsting to eclipse their burning 
In a sea of death and mourning. 

Stand ye calm and resolute, 

Like a forest close and mute, 

With folded arms and looks which are 

Weapons of unvanquisht war, 

And let Panic, who outspeeds 
The career of armed steeds 
Pass, a disregarded shade 
Thro' your phalanx undismayed. 

On those who first should violate 
Such sacred heralds in their state 
Rest the blood that must ensue, 
And it will not rest on you. 

And if then the tyrants dare 
Let them ride among you there, 
Slash, and stab, and maim, and hew,- 
What they like, that let them do. 

With folded arms and steady eyes, 
And little fear, and less surprise 
Look upon them as they slay 
Till their rage has died away. 

Then they will return with shame 
To the place from which they came, 
And the blood thus shed will speak 
In hot blushes on their cheek. 

Rise like Lions after slumber 
In unvanquishable number- 
Shake your chains to earth like dew 
Which in sleep had fallen on you— 
Ye are many— they are few. 

4. Henry D. Thoreau: CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE 

In anarchist or near-anarchist thought, there is an impor- 
tant strain that supports the notion of non-violent resistance 
both to social injustice and to the State which anarchists hope 
will eventually disappear. Most anarchists associate violence 
with the State and with politics; and while some, like Bakunin 
in the nineteenth century, have thought of violence as a means 
for eliminating the State and with it organized violence, many 
modern anarchists have doubted whether violence could be 
used effectively. Those who, on the whole, reject violence as 
means argue in part on what might be called utilitarian 
grounds and in part from religious considerations. A good ex- 
ample of the religious anarchist view of non-violence will be 
found in the doctrines of Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), who dur- 
ing the latter part of his life came increasingly to believe that 
the Sermon on the Mount constituted a kind of command to 
offer non-violent resistance to the State and to war. The un- 
dermining of institutions (like law, the State, and war) which 
he thought of as rooted in violence to human personality would 
be the result of men's collective and non-violent disobedience 
to orders of the State. 

During the nineteenth century, one of the great classics of 
non-violent civil disobedience was written by Henry David 
Thoreau (1817-62). In his Civil Disobedience, published in 
1849, he protested against the institutions of slavery and of 
war and particularly attacked the war with Mexico. If only 
enough men would offer non-violent non-co-operation, he ar- 
gued in the extract printed here, the institution of slavery 
would crumble. Men are too attached to the State and too 
little concerned with the right. They are afraid to go to jail 
for a cause. Yet until they are willing to do so in considerable 
numbers, the State will continue to have its willing instru- 
ments for wars and institutions like slavery. 

The essay has had an enormous influence among those seek- 
ing to work out theories of non-violence. Gandhi read it with 
great interest and profit, as did Tolstoy; and leaders of the 


current American Sit-In movement for racial integration are 
familiar with Thoreau. 

I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which 
governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more 
rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to 
this, which also I believe— "That government is best which 
governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that 
will be the kind of government which they will have. Govern- 
ment is at best but an expedient; but most governments are 
usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The 
objections which have been brought against a standing army, 
and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may 
also at last be brought against a standing government. The 
standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The 
government itself, which is only the mode which the people 
have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused 
and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the 
present Mexican war, the work of comparatively few indi- 
viduals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the 
outset, the people would not have consented to this measure. 

This American government— what is it but a tradition, 
though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired 
to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It 
has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a 
single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to 
the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; 
for the people must have some complicated machinery or 
other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government 
which they have. Governments show thus how successfully 
men can be imposed on, even impose on themselves, for their 
own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this 
government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the 
alacrity with which it got out of its way. // does not keep the 
country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. 
The character inherent in the American people has done all 
that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat 
more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. 

But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who 
call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no 
government, but at once a better government. Let every man 
make known what kind of government would command his re- 
spect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it. 

After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once 
in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a 


long period continue, to rule is not because they are most 
likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the 
minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But a 
government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be 
based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there 
not be a government in which majorities do not virtually de- 
cide right and wrong, but conscience?— in which majorities de- 
cide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is 
applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least 
degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every 
man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, 
and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect 
for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation 
which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think 
right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no con- 
science; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corpora- 
tion with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more 
just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-dis- 
posed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common 
and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may 
see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, 
powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over 
hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their 
common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep 
marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. 
They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which 
they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, 
what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and maga- 
zines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? 

The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, 
but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing 
army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. 
In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judg- 
ment or of the moral sense; and wooden men can perhaps be 
manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such com- 
mand no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. 
They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. 
Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. 
Others— as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and 
office-holders— serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as 
they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to 
serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few— as 
heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and 
men— serve the state with their consciences also, and so neces- 
sarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly 
treated as enemies by it. . . . 


How does it become a man to behave toward this American 
government to-day? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace 
be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that 
political organization as my government which is the slave's 
government also. 

All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to 
refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its 
tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But al- 
most all say that such is not the case now. But such was the 
case, they think, in the Revolution of '75. If one were to tell me 
that this was a bad government because it taxed certain for- 
eign commodities brought to its ports, it is most probable that 
I should not make an ado about it, for I can do without them. 
All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough 
good to counterbalance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil 
to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have 
its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, 
let us not have such a machine any longer. In other words, 
when a sixth of the population of a nation which has under- 
taken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole coun- 
try is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and 
subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for 
honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty 
the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not 
our own, but ours is the invading army. . . . 

Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them or shall 
we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have 
succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men gener- 
ally, under such a government as this, think that they ought 
to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. 
They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be 
worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself 
that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. . . 

I meet this American government, or its representative, the 
State government, directly, and face to face, once a year— no 
more— in the person of its tax-gatherer; this is the only mode in 
which a man situated as I am necessarily meets it; and it then 
says distinctly, Recognize me; and the simplest, the most effec- 
tual, and, in the present posture of affairs, the indispensablest 
mode of treating with it on this head, of expressing your little 
satisfaction with and love for it, is to deny it then. My civil 
neighbor, the tax-gatherer, is the very man I have to deal with 
—for it is, after all, with men and not with parchment that I 
quarrel— and he has voluntarily chosen to be an agent of the 
government. How shall he ever know well what he is and does 
as an officer of the government, or as a man, until he is obliged 


to consider whether he shall treat me, his neighbor, for whom 
he has respect, as a neighbor and well-disposed man, or as a 
maniac and disturber of the peace, and see if he can get over 
his obstruction to his neighborliness without a ruder and more 
impetuous thought or speech corresponding with his action? I 
know this well, that if one thousand, if one hundred, if ten men 
whom I could name— if then honest men only— ay, if one HON- 
EST man, in this State of Massachusetts, ceasing to hold 
slaves, were actually to withdraw from this copartnership, and 
be locked up in the county jail therefor, it would be the abo- 
lition of slavery in America. 

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true 
place for a just man is also a prison. . . . 

5. Mohandas K. Gandhi: THE ORIGINS OF 

Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) has been, of course, the 
greatest exponent of the theory and practice of non-violence 
in the twentieth century. Trained as a lawyer, he spent the 
early part of his career in South Africa, where he first came to 
his basic convictions about non-violent struggle. Later— at the 
time of World War I— he returned to India, where he became 
a leader of the Congress movement for Indian independence. 
The independence movement came to be dominated by Gan- 
dhi's idea of non-violent struggle; for while many of his follow- 
ers—including Pandit Nehru— did not regard non-violence as a 
matter of principle, most of them respected Gandhi so much 
and were so conscious of the hopelessness of violent tech- 
niques in the struggle against British rule that they practiced 
non-violence on expediential grounds. Eventually (1947) India 
won its political independence; and although there is still a 
dispute as to precisely what factors were most important in 
leading Great Britain to give up the Indian Empire, there can 
be little doubt that the non-violent campaigns led by Gandhi 
from 1920-21 onward played a very important role. 

Elsewhere we analyze some of the specific techniques used 
by the Gandhi movement in India (see Reading 18, p. 236). 
Here, however, we are concerned with the origins of Gandhi's 
general idea of Satyagraha (truth or soul force) during his 
early campaigns in South Africa and the influence of certain 
parts of the Hindu scriptures, by the New Testament (par- 
ticularly the Sermon on the Mount), the writings of Leo Tol- 
stoy, and Thoreau's Civil Disobedience. 

In the passage printed here, Gandhi tells us of the circum- 
stances that led him to evolve the idea of Satyagraha and of 
the conditions under which it was first applied. The South 
African Government's passing of a discriminatory Registra- 
tion Ordinance (the so-called Black Act) required all Indians 
to register and to undergo certain indignities. Some members 
of the Indian community, which was neither previously con- 
sulted nor allowed to vote, were on the point of advocating 


violent resistance, but Gandhi's leadership eventually pre- 
vailed. He describes how a substantial part of the commu- 
nity became Satyagrahis, or non-violent fighters, how their 
techniques, in conjunction with other events, led to the gov- 
ernment's agreement to repeal the ordinance under certain 
conditions, and ends with an account of his famous confer- 
ence with General Jan Smuts, the Prime Minister. 

Gandhi explains why an intense commitment to truth counts 
more than numbers in non-violent struggles and attempts to 
distinguish between Satyagraha, the instrument of those who 
are "strong in soul," and passive resistance, which he thinks 
of as the weapon of weak men, without arms but equally with- 
out conviction. He discusses Christ as an example of the Sat- 
yagrahi, and the effectiveness of voluntary suffering. 

Through his conception runs the notion that physical force 
is the equivalent of brute force, ethically wrong and to be 
eschewed in social and political struggles. The reader may 
question the truth of this. Is all physical force under all cir- 
cumstances more evil than what Gandhi calls "soul force"? 
Whether it is the Satyagrahi's intention or not, the effect of 
the use of soul force is often to injure the opponent's interests, 
as the methods used in South Africa increased the difficulties 
of the police and the boycott of foreign cloth in India deprived 
thousands of English workers of employment. Can any social 
struggle be carried on without some injury, however mild, to 
the opponent? A strike injures the employer and the public; 
the fast of a Gandhi causes severe emotional hardship to his 
friends and supporters. A boycott hurts tradesmen and manu- 
facturers, and civil disobedience might result in the disruption 
of transportation and communications, thus causing real diffi- 
culties for many people. 

The critic, while asking Gandhi these questions, will not 
necessarily deny considerable validity to the conception of 
Satyagraha. Some types of social struggle undoubtedly cause 
less injury to the opponent than others— particularly less ir- 
reparable injury. Perhaps the line should be drawn between 
those forms of struggle likely to lead to irreparable injury and 
those that may result only in secondary or relatively minor in- 
conveniences. In his Christian Pacifism Re-examined (1939), 
C. J. Cadoux develops a thesis of this kind, making a dis- 
tinction between the use of "injurious" and "non-injurious" 
force. Some kinds of physical force (restraining an impetuous 
child, for example) are relatively non-injurious while certain 


types of non-physical pressure (a general strike of hospital 
employees, for instance) might be close to the extreme of in- 
jurious force. 

The extract printed here is taken from Gandhi's Satyagraha 
in South Africa (Stanford, California: Academic Reprints, 
1954), pp. 97-115, with certain omissions. 


Before dealing with this Ordinance in detail, it would be 
well to dispose of an important event in a few words. As I 
was the author of the Satyagraha movement, it is necessary to 
enable the reader fully to understand some events of my life. 
The Zulu 'rebellion' broke out in Natal just while attempts 
were thus being made to impose further disabilities upon In- 
dians in the Transvaal. I doubted then and doubt even now if 
the outbreak could be described as a rebellion, but it has al- 
ways been thus described in Natal. Now as in the Boar War, 
many European residents of Natal joined the army as volun- 
teers. As I too was considered a resident of Natal, I thought I 
must do my bit in the war. With the community's permission, 
therefore, I made an offer to the Government to raise a 
Stretcher-bearer Corps for service with the troops. The offer 
was accepted. I therefore broke up my Johannesburg home 
and sent my family to Phoenix in Natal where my co-workers 
had settled and from where Indian Opinion was published. I 
did not close the office as I knew I would not be away for long. 

I joined the army with a small corps of twenty or twenty- 
five men. Most of the provinces of India were represented 
even on this small body of men. I have always been thankful 
to God for the work which then fell to our lot. We found that 
the wounded Zulus would have been left uncared for, unless 
we had attended to them. No European would help to dress 
their wounds. 

The Corps was disbanded in a month. Its work was men- 
tioned in despatches. Each member of the Corps was awarded 
the medal especially struck for the occasion. The Governor 
wrote a letter of thanks. 

While I was working with the Corps, two ideas which had 
long been floating in my mind became firmly fixed. First an 
aspirant after a life exclusively devoted to service must lead a 
life of celibacy. Secondly, he must accept poverty as a con- 
stant companion through life. He may not take up any occupa- 


tion which would prevent him or make him shrink from under- 
taking the lowliest of duties or largest risks. 

Letters and telegrams, asking me to proceed to the Trans- 
vaal at once, had poured in, even while I was serving with 
the Corps. On return from the war, therefore, I just met the 
friends at Phoenix and at once reached Johannesburg. There I 
read the draft Ordinance referred to above. I took the Trans- 
vaal Government Gazette Extraordinary of August 22, 1906 
in which the Ordinance was published home from the office. I 
went up a hill near the house in the company of a friend and 
began to translate the draft Ordinance into Gujarati for In- 
dian Opinion. I shuddered as I read the sections of the Ordi- 
nance one after another. I saw nothing in it except hatred of 
Indians. It seemed to me that if the Ordinance was passed 
and the Indians meekly accepted it, that would spell absolute 
ruin for the Indians in South Africa. I clearly saw that this 
was a question of life and death for them. I further saw that 
even in the case of memorials and representations proving 
fruitless, the community must not sit with folded hands. Better 
die than submit to such a law. But how were we to die? What 
should we dare and do so that there would be nothing before 
us except a choice of victory or death? An impenetrable wall 
was before me, as it were, and I could not see my way through 
it. I must acquaint the reader with the details of the proposed 
measure, which shocked me so violently. Here is a brief sum- 
mary of it. 

Every Indian, man, woman or child of eight years or up- 
wards, entitled to reside in the Transvaal, must register his or 
her name with the Registrar of Asiatics and take out a certifi- 
cate of registration. 

The applicants for registration must surrender their old per- 
mits to the Registrar, and state in their applications their name, 
residence, caste, age, etc. The Registrar was to note down im- 
portant marks of identification upon the applicant's person, 
and take his finger and thumb impressions. Every Indian who 
failed thus to apply for registration before a certain date was 
to forfeit his right of residence in the Transvaal. Failure to 
apply would be held to be an offence in law for which the 
defaulter could be fined, sent to prison or even deported 
within the discretion of the court. Parents must apply on be- 
half of their minor children and bring them to the Registrar in 
order to give their finger impressions, etc. In case of parents 
failing to discharge this responsibility laid upon them, the 
minor on attaining the age of sixteen years must discharge it 
himself, and if he defaulted, he made himself liable to the 
same punishments as could be awarded to his parents. The 
certificate of registration issued to an applicant must be pro- 
duced before any police officer whenever and wherever he 


may be required to do so. Failure thus to produce the certifi- 
cate would be held to be an offence for which the defaulter 
could be fined or sent to prison. Even a person walking on 
public thoroughfares could be required to produce his certifi- 
cate. Police officers could enter private houses in order to 
inspect certificates. Indians entering the Transvaal from some 
place outside it must produce their certificates before the in- 
spector on duty. Certificates must be produced on demand in 
courts which the holder attended on business, and in revenue 
offices which issued to him a trading or bicycle licence. That 
is to say, if an Indian wanted any Government office to do for 
him something within its competence, the officer could ask to 
see his certificate or to supply such particulars or means of 
identification as may be prescribed by regulation. . . . 

I have never known legislation of this nature being directed 
against free men in any part of the world. I know that inden- 
tured Indians in Natal are subject to a drastic system of passes, 
but these poor fellows can hardly be classed as free men. How- 
ever even the laws to which they are subject are mild in com- 
parison to the Ordinance outlined above and the penalties they 
impose are a mere fieabite when compared with the penalties 
laid down in the Ordinance. A trader with assets running into 
lakhs could be deported and thus faced with utter ruin in virtue 
of the Ordinance. And the patient reader will see later on how 
persons were even deported for breaking some of its provi- 
sions. There are some drastic laws directed against criminal 
tribes in India, with which this Ordinance can be easily com- 
pared and will be found not to suffer by the comparison. The 
giving of finger prints required by the Ordinance, was quite 
a novelty in South Africa. . . . Again, the registration of 
women and children under sixteen was proposed for the first 
time by this Ordinance. 

The next day there was held a small meeting of the leading 
Indians to whom I explained the Ordinance word by word. It 
shocked them as it had shocked me. . . . All present realized 
the seriousness of the situation and resolved to hold a public 
meeting at which a number of resolutions must be proposed 
and passed. A Jewish theatre was hired for the purpose. 


The meeting was duly held on September 11, 1906. It was 
attended by delegates from various places in the Transvaal. 
But I must confess that even I myself had not then understood 
all the implications of the resolutions I had helped to frame; 
nor had I gauged all the possible conclusions to which they 
might lead. The old Empire Theatre was packed from floor to 
ceiling. I could read in every face the expectation of something 


strange to be done or to happen. Mr. Abdul Gani, Chairman 
of the Transvaal British Indian Association, presided. He was 
one of the oldest Indian residents of the Transvaal, and part- 
ner and manager of the Johannesburg branch of the well- 
known firm of Mamad Kasam Kamrudin. The most impor- 
tant among the resolutions passed by the meeting was the 
famous Fourth Resolution, by which the Indians solemnly de- 
termined not to submit to the Ordinance in the event of its 
becoming law in the teeth of their opposition and to suffer all 
the penalties attaching to such non-submission. 

I fully explained this resolution to the meeting and received 
a patient hearing. The business of the meeting was conducted 
in Hindi or Gujarati; it was impossible therefore that any one 
present should not follow the proceedings. For the Tamils and 
Telugus who did not know Hindi there were Tamil and Telugu 
speakers who fully explained everything in their respective 
languages. The resolution was duly proposed, seconded and 
supported by several speakers. . . . 

. . . The meeting heard me word by word in perfect quiet. 
Other leaders too spoke. All dwelt upon their own responsi- 
bility and the responsibility of the audience. The President 
rose. He too made the situation clear, and at last all present, 
standing with upraised hands, took an oath with God as wit- 
ness not to submit to the Ordinance if it became law. . . . 
The community's enthusiasm knew no bounds. The very next 
day there was some accident in the theatre in consequence of 
which it was wholly destroyed by fire. On the third day friends 
brought me the news of the fire and congratulated the com- 
munity upon the good omen, which signified to them that the 
Ordinance would meet the same fate as the theatre. I have 
never been influenced by such so-called signs and therefore 
did not attach any weight to the coincidence. I have taken 
note of it here only as a demonstration of the community's 
courage and faith. . . . 

The workers did not let the grass grow under their feet 
after this great meeting. Meetings were held everywhere and 
pledges of resistance were taken in every place. The principal 
topic of discussion in Indian Opinion now was the Black Or- 

At the other end, steps were taken in order to meet the Lo- 
cal Government. A deputation waited upon Mr. Duncan, the 
Colonial Secretary, and told him among other things about 
the pledges. Sheth Haji Habib, who was a member of the dep- 
utation, said, 'I cannot possibly restrain myself if any officer 
comes and proceeds to take my wife's finger prints. I will kill 
him there and then and die myself.' The Minister stared at the 


Sheth's face for a while and said, 'Government is reconsider- 
ing the advisability of making the Ordinance applicable to 
women, and I can assure you at once that the clauses relating 
to women will be deleted. Government have understood your 
feeling in the matter and desire to respect it. But as for the 
other provisions, I am sorry to inform you that Government 
is and will remain adamant. General Botha wants you to agree 
to this legislation after due deliberation. Government deem it 
to be essential to the existence of the Europeans. They will 
certainly consider any suggestions about details which you 
may make consistently with the objects of the Ordinance, and 
my advice to the deputation is that your interest lies in agree- 
ing to the legislation and proposing changes only as regards 
the details.' I am leaving out here the particulars of the dis- 
cussion with the Minister, as all those arguments have already 
been dealt with. The arguments were just the same, there was 
only a difference in phraseology as they were set forth before 
the Minister. The deputation withdrew, after informing him 
that his advice notwithstanding, acquiescence in the proposed 
legislation was out of the question, and after thanking Govern- 
ment for its intention of exempting women from its provisions. 

None of us knew what name to give to our movement. I 
then used the term 'passive resistance' in describing it. I did not 
quite understand the implications of 'passive resistance' as I 
called it. I only knew that some new principle had come into 
being. As the struggle advanced, the phrase 'passive resistance' 
gave rise to confusion and it appeared shameful to permit this 
great struggle to be known only by an English name. Again, 
that foreign phrase could hardly pass as current coin among 
the community. A small prize was therefore announced in 
Indian Opinion to be awarded to the reader who invented the 
best designation for our struggle. We thus received a number 
of suggestions. The meaning of the struggle had been then 
fully discussed in Indian Opinion and the competitors for the 
prize had fairly sufficient material to serve as a basis for their 
exploration. Shri Maganlal Gandhi was one of the competitors 
and he suggested the word 'Sadagraha,' meaning 'firmness in a 
good cause.' I liked the word, but it did not fully represent the 
whole idea I wished it to connote. I therefore corrected it to 
'Satyagraha.' Truth (Satya) implies love, and firmness 
(agraha) engenders and therefore serves as a synonym for 
force. I thus began to call the Indian movement 'Satyagraha,' 
that is to say, the Force which is born of Truth and Love or 
non-violence, and gave up the use of the phrase 'passive re- 
sistance,' in connection with it, so much so that even in English 


writing we often avoided it and used instead the word 'Satya- 
graha' itself or some other equivalent English phrase. 


As the movement advanced Englishmen too began to watch 
it with interest. Although the English newspapers in the Trans- 
vaal generally wrote in support of the Europeans and of the 
Black Act, they willingly published contributions from well- 
known Indians. They also published Indian representations to 
Government in full or at least a summary of these, sometimes 
sent their reporters to important meetings of the Indians, and 
when such was not the case, made room for the brief reports 
we sent them. 

These amenities were of course very useful to the commu- 
nity, but by and by some leading Europeans came to take in- 
terest in the movement as it progressed. One of these was Mr. 
Hosken, one of the magnates of Johannesburg. He had always 
been free from colour prejudice but his interest in the Indian 
question deepened after the starting of Satyagraha. The Euro- 
peans of Germiston, which is something like a suburb of Jo- 
hannesburg, expressed a desire to hear me. A meeting was 
held, and introducing me and the movement I stood for to the 
audience, Mr. Hosken observed. 'The Transvaal Indians have 
had recourse to passive resistance when all other means of 
securing redress proved to be of no avail. They do not enjoy 
the franchise. Numerically, they are only a few. They are 
weak and have no arms. Therefore they have taken to passive 
resistance which is a weapon of the weak.' These observations 
took me by surprise, and the speech which I was going to 
make took an altogether different complexion in consequence. 
In contradicting Mr. Hosken, I defined our passive resistance 
as 'soul force.' I saw at this meeting that a use of the phrase 
'passive resistance' was apt to give rise to terrible misunder- 
standing. I will try to distinguish between passive resistance 
and soul force by amplifying the argument which I made be- 
fore that meeting so as to make things clearer. 

I have no idea when the phrase 'passive resistance' was first 
used in English and by whom. But among the English people, 
whenever a small minority did not approve of some obnox- 
ious piece of legislation, instead of rising in rebellion they took 
the passive or milder step of not submitting to the law and in- 
viting the penalties of such non-submission upon their heads. 
When the British Parliament passed the Education Act some 
years ago, the Non-conformists offered passive resistance un- 
der the leadership of Dr. Clifford. The great movement of the 


English women for the vote was also known as passive re- 
sistance. It was in view of these two cases that Mr. Hosken de- 
scribed passive resistance as a weapon of the weak or the vote- 
less. Dr. Clifford and his friends had the vote, but as they were 
in a minority in the Parliament, they could not prevent the 
passage of the Education Act. That is to say, they were weak 
in numbers. Not that they were averse to the use of arms for 
the attainment of their aims, but they had no hope of succeed- 
ing by force of arms. And in a well-regulated state, recourse to 
arms every now and then in order to secure popular rights 
would defeat its own purpose. Again some of the Non-con- 
formists would generally object to taking up arms even if it 
was a practical proposition. The suffragist movement did not 
eschew the use of physical force. Some suffragists fired build- 
ings and even assaulted men. I do not think they ever intended 
to kill any one. But they did intend to thrash people when an 
opportunity occurred, and even thus to make things hot for 

But brute force had absolutely no place in the Indian move- 
ment in any circumstance, and the reader will see, as we pro- 
ceed, that no matter how badly they suffered, the Satyagrahis 
never used physical force, and that too although there were 
occasions when they were in a position to use it effectively. 
Again, although the Indians had no franchise and were weak, 
these considerations had nothing to do with the organization of 
Satyagraha. This is not to say, that the Indians would have 
taken to Satyagraha even if they had possessed arms or the 

:$: H« H 4 sfc % 

We are only concerned to note the distinction between pas- 
sive resistance and Satyagraha, and we have seen that there is 
a great and fundamental difference between the two. If with- 
out understanding this, those who call themselves either pas- 
sive resisters or Satyagrahis believe both to be one and the 
same thing, there would be injustice to both leading to unto- 
ward consequences. The result of our using the phrase 'passive 
resistance' in South Africa was, not that people admired us 
by ascribing to us the bravery and the self-sacrifice of the suf- 
fragists but we were mistaken to be a danger to person and 
property which the suffragists were, and even a generous 
friend like Mr. Hosken imagined us to be weak. The power of 
suggestion is such, that a man at last becomes what he believes 
himself to be. If we continued to believe ourselves and let 
others believe, that we are weak and helpless and therefore 
offer passive resistance, our resistance would never make us 
strong, and at the earliest opportunity we would give up pas- 
sive resistance as a weapon of the weak. On the other hand if 


we are Satyagrahis and offer Satyagraha believing ourselves 
to be strong, two clear consequences result from it. Fostering 
the idea of strength, we grow stronger and stronger every day. 
With the increase in our strength, our Satyagraha too becomes 
more effective and we would never be casting about for an 
opportunity to give it up.' Again, while there is no scope for 
love in passive resistance, on the other hand not only has 
hatred no place in Satyagraha but is a positive breach of its 
ruling principle. While in passive resistance there is a scope 
for the use of arms when a suitable occasion arrives, in Satya- 
graha physical force is forbidden even in the most favourable 
circumstances. Passive resistance is often looked upon as a 
preparation for the use of force while Satyagraha can never 
be utilized as such. Passive resistance may be offered side by 
side with the use of arms. Satyagraha and brute force, being 
each a negation of the other, can never go together. Satya- 
graha may be offered to one's nearest and dearest; passive re- 
sistance can never be offered to them unless of course they 
have ceased to be dear and become an object of hatred to us. 
In passive resistance there is always present an idea of harass- 
ing the other party and there is a simultaneous readiness to 
undergo any hardships entailed upon us by such activity; 
while in Satyagraha there is not the remotest idea of injuring 
the opponent. Satyagraha postulates the conquest of the ad- 
versary by suffering in one's own person.) 

These are the distinctions between the two forces. But I do 
not wish to suggest that the merits, or if you like, the defects 
of passive resistance thus enumerated are to be seen in every 
movement which passes by that name. But it can be shown 
that these defects have been noticed in many cases of passive 
resistance. Jesus Christ indeed has been acclaimed as the 
prince of passive resisters but I submit in that case passive re- 
sistance must mean Satyagraha and Satyagraha alone. There 
are not many cases in history of passive resistance in that 
sense. One of these is that of the Doukhobors of Russia cited 
by Tolstoy. The phrase 'passive resistance' was not employed 
to denote the patient suffering of oppression by thousands of 
devout Christians in the early days of Christianity. I would 
therefore class them as Satyagrahis. And if their conduct be 
described as passive resistance, passive resistance becomes 
synonymous with Satyagraha. It has been my object in the 
present chapter to show that Satyagraha is essentially different 
from what people generally mean in English by the phrase 
'passive resistance.' 



When the Asiatic Department found, that notwithstanding 
all their exertions, they could not get more than 500 Indians 
to register, they decided to arrest some one. In Germiston 
there lived many Indians, one of whom was Pandit Rama 
Sundara. . . . He became the cynosure of all eyes as if he 
were a great man put upon his trial. Government need not 
have taken, but it did take, special measures for the preserva- 
tion of peace. In the Court, too, Rama Sundara was accorded 
due respect as no ordinary prisoner but a representative of his 
community. Eager Indian spectators filled the Court-room. 
Rama Sundara was sentenced to a month's simple imprison- 
ment, and kept in a separate cell in the European ward in 
Johannesburg gaol. . . . There was no trace of depression, 
but on the other hand there was exultation and rejoicing. Hun- 
dreds were ready to go to jail. The officers of the Asiatic De- 
partment were disappointed in their hope of a bumper crop of 
registrants. . . . The month was soon over. Rama Sundara 
was released and was taken in a procession to the place where 
a meeting had been arranged. Vigorous speeches were made. 
Rama Sundara was smothered with garlands of flowers. . . . 

But Rama Sundara turned out to be false coin. There was 
no escape from the month's imprisonment, as his arrest came 
as a surprise. In jail he had enjoyed luxuries to which he had 
been a stranger outside. Still accustomed as he was to licence, 
and addicted as he was to bad habits, the loneliness and the 
restraints of jail life were too much for him. In spite of all the 
attention showered upon him by the jail authorities as well 
as by the community, jail appeared irksome to him and he 
bade a final good-bye to the Transvaal and to the movement. 
There are cunning men in every community and in every 
movement and so there were in ours. These knew Rama Sun- 
dara through and through, but from an idea that even he 
might become an instrument of the community's providence, 
they never let me know his secret history until his bubble had 
finally burst. 

I have thus detailed the whole history of Rama Sundara not 
in order to expose his faults, but to point a moral. The leaders 
of every clean movement are bound to see that they admit 
only clean fighters to it. But all their caution notwithstanding, 
undesirable elements cannot be kept out. And yet if the leaders 
are fearless and true, the entry of undesirable persons into the 
movement without their knowing them to be so does not ulti- 
mately harm the cause. When Rama Sundara was found out, 
he became a man of straw. The community forgot him, but 


the movement gathered fresh strength even through him. Im- 
prisonment suffered by him for the cause stood to our credit, 
the enthusiasm created by his trial came to stay, and profiting 
by his example, weaklings slipped away out of the movement 
of their own accord. 


I propose to acquaint the reader with all the weapons, in- 
ternal as well as external, employed in the Satyagraha struggle 
and now therefore proceed to introduce to him Indian Opin- 
ion, a weekly journal which is published in South Africa to this 
very day. ... It was formerly published in English, Gujarati, 
Hindi and Tamil. But the Hindi and Tamil sections were even- 
tually discontinued, as the burden they imposed upon us 
seemed to be excessive, we could not find Tamil and Hindi 
writers willing to settle upon the farm and could not exercise 
a check upon them. The paper was thus being published in 
English and Gujarati when the Satyagraha struggle com- 
menced. . . . Through the medium of this paper we could 
very well disseminate the news of the week among the com- 
munity. The English section kept those Indians informed about 
the movement who did not know Gujarati, and for English- 
men in India, England and South Africa, Indian Opinion 
served the purpose of a weekly newsletter. . . . 

As the community was transformed in course of and as a re- 
sult of the struggle, so was Indian Opinion. In the beginning 
we used to accept advertisements for it, and also execute job 
work in the printing press. I observed that some of our best 
men had to be spared for this kind of work. If we did receive 
advertisements for publication, there was constant difficulty in 
deciding which to accept and which to refuse. Again one 
would be inclined to refuse an objectionable advertisement, 
and yet be constrained to accept it, say because the advertiser 
was a leading member of the community and might take it ill 
if his advertisement was rejected. . . . Moreover, the view 
commended itself, that if the paper was conducted not because 
it yielded profit but purely with a view to service, the service 
should not be imposed upon the community by force but 
should be rendered only if the community wished. And the 
clearest proof of such wish would be forthcoming if they be- 
came subscribers in sufficiently large numbers to make the 
paper self-supporting. Finally it seemed that it was in every 
way better for all concerned that we should approach the 
generality of the community and explain to them the duty of 
keeping their newspaper going rather than set about to induce 


a few traders to place their advertisements with us in the name 
of service. On all these grounds we stopped advertisements in 
the paper with the gratifying result that those who were at first 
engrossed in the advertisement department could now devote 
their labours to improving the paper. 

Just as we stopped advertisements in the paper, we ceased 
to take job work in the press, and for nearly the same reasons. 
Compositors had now some time to spare, which was utilized 
in the publication of books. As here too there was no inten- 
tion of reaping profits and as the books were printed only to 
help the struggle forward, they commanded good sales. Thus 
both the paper and the press made their contribution to the 
struggle, and as Satyagraha gradually took root in the com- 
munity, there was clearly visible a corresponding moral amel- 
ioration of the paper as well as of the press from the stand- 
point of Satyagraha. 


The workers had realized at the very outset that secrecy 
had no place in a movement, where one could do no wrong, 
where there was no scope for duplicity or cunning, and where 
strength constituted the single guarantee of victory. The very 
interest of the community demanded, that if the disease of 
weakness was to be eradicated, it must be first properly di- 
agnosed and given due publicity. When the officers [of Gov- 
ernment] saw that this was the policy of Indian Opinion, the 
paper became for them a faithful mirror of the current his- 
tory of the Indian community. They thus came to think the 
strength of the movement could not by any means be broken 
so long as certain leaders were at large. Some of the leading 
men were consequently served with a notice in Christmas 
week of 1907 to appear before the Magistrate. It must be ad- 
mitted that this was an act of courtesy on the part of the of- 
ficers concerned. They could have arrested the leaders by a 
warrant if they had chosen to do so. Instead of this they is- 
sued notices and this, besides being evidence of their courtesy, 
also betrayed their confidence that the leaders were willing 
and prepared to be arrested. Those who had thus been warned 
appeared before the Court on the date specified, Saturday, 
December 28, 1907, to show cause why, having failed to ap- 
ply for registration as required by law, they should not be 
ordered to leave the Transvaal within a given period. 


The Magistrate conducted each case separately, and or- 
dered all the accused to leave the Transvaal within forty- 
eight hours in some cases and seven or fourteen days in others. 

The time limit expired on January 10, 1908 and the same 
day we were called upon to attend court for sentence. 

None of us had to offer any defence. All were to plead 
guilty to the charge of disobeying the order to leave the Trans- 
vaal within the stated period, issued by the Magistrate on 
failure to satisfy him that they were lawful holders of certif- 
icates of registration. 

I asked leave to make a short statement, and on its being 
granted, I said I thought there should be a distinction made 
between my case and those that were to follow. I had just 
heard from Pretoria that my compatriots there had been sen- 
tenced to three months' imprisonment with hard labour, and 
had been fined a heavy amount, in lieu of payment of which 
they would receive a further period of three months' hard 
labour. If these men had committed an offence, I had com- 
mitted a greater offence and I therefore asked the Magistrate 
to impose upon me the heaviest penalty. The Magistrate, how- 
ever, did not agree to my request and sentenced me to two 
months' simple imprisonment. I had some slight feeling of 
awkwardness due to the fact that I was standing as an ac- 
cused in the very Court where I had often appeared as coun- 
sel. But I well remember that I considered the former role as 
far more honourable than the latter, and did not feel the 
slightest hesitation in entering the prisoner's box. 

In the Court there were hundreds of Indians as well as 
brother members of the Bar in front of me. On the sentence 
being pronounced I was at once removed in custody and was 
then quite alone. 

In jail I was asked to put off my own private clothing. I 
knew that convicts were made naked in jail. We had all de- 
cided as Satyagrahis voluntarily to obey all jail regulations so 
long as they were not inconsistent with our self-respect or 
with our religious convictions. The clothes which were given 
to me to wear were very dirty. I did not like putting them on 
at all. It was not without pain that I reconciled myself to 
them from an idea that I must put up with some dirt. . . . 

From the second or third day Satyagrahi prisoners began 
to arrive in large numbers. They had all courted arrest and 
were most of them hawkers. In South Africa every hawker, 
Black or White, has to take out a licence, always to carry it 
with him and show it to the police when asked to do so. 


Nearly every day some policeman would ask to see the li- 
cences and arrest those who had none to show. The commu- 
nity had resolved to fill up the jail after our arrests. In this 
the hawkers took the lead. It was easy for them to be ar- 
rested. They only had to refuse to show their licences and that 
was enough to ensure their arrest. In this way the number of 
Satyagrahi prisoners swelled to more than a hundred in one 
week. And as a few were sure to arrive every day, we re- 
ceived the daily budget of news without a newspaper. When 
Satyagrahis began to be arrested in large numbers, they were 
sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour . . . 


We had thus been in jail for a fortnight, when fresh ar- 
rivals brought the news that there were going on some ne- 
gotiations about a compromise with the Government. . . . 

The substance of the proposed settlement was that the In- 
dians should register voluntarily, and not under any law; that 
the details to be entered in the new certificates of registra- 
tion should be settled by Government in consultation with the 
Indian community, and, that if the majority of the Indians 
underwent voluntary registration, Government should repeal 
the Black Act, and take steps with a view to legalize the volun- 
tary registration. The draft did not make quite clear the con- 
dition which required Government to repeal the Black Act. I 
therefore suggested a change calculated to place this beyond 
all doubt from my own standpoint. 

Mr. Cartwright [the negotiator] did not like even this little 
addition and said, 'General Smuts considers this draft to be 
final. I have approved of it myself, and I can assure you that 
if you all undergo re-registration, the Black Act is bound to 
be repealed.' 

I replied, 'Whether or not there is a settlement, we shall al- 
ways be grateful to you for your kindness and help. I should 
not like to suggest a single unnecessary alteration in the draft. 
I do not object to such language as would uphold the prestige 
of Government. But where I myself am doubtful about the 
meaning, I must certainly suggest a change of language, and 
if there is to be a settlement after all, both the parties must 
have the right to alter the draft. General Smuts need not con- 
front us with an ultimatum, saying that these terms are final. 
He has already aimed one pistol in the shape of the Black 


Act at the Indians. What can he hope to gain by aiming a 

Mr. Cartwright had nothing to say against this argument, 
and he promised to place my suggestion for the change be- 
fore General Smuts. 

I consulted my fellow-prisoners. They too did not like the 
language, but agreed to the settlement if General Smuts would 
accept the draft with my amendment. New-comers to jail had 
brought a message from the leaders outside, that I should ac- 
cept any suitable compromise without waiting for their con- 
sent. I got Messrs Leuing Quinn and Thambi Naidoo to sign 
the draft along with myself and handed it to Mr. Cartwright. 

The second or third day, on January 30, 1908, Mr. Vernon, 
the Superintendent of Police, Johannesburg, took me to Pre- 
toria to meet General Smuts, with whom I had a good deal of 
talk. He told me what had passed between him and Mr. Cart- 
wright. He congratulated me on the Indian community hav- 
ing remained firm even after my imprisonment, and said, 'I 
could never entertain a dislike for your people. You know I 
too am a barrister. I had some Indian fellow students in my 
time. But I must do my duty. The Europeans want this law, 
and you will agree with me, that these are mostly not Boers, 
but Englishmen. I accept the alteration you have suggested in 
the draft. I have consulted General Botha also, and I assure 
you that I will repeal the Asiatic Act as soon as most of you 
have undergone voluntary registration. When the bill legalizing 
such registration is drafted, I will send you a copy for your 
criticism. I do not wish there should be any recurrence of the 
trouble, and I wish to respect the feelings of your people.' 

So saying General Smuts rose. I asked him, 'Where am I 
to go?' . . . 

The General laughed and said, 'You are free this very mo- 
ment.' . . . There was now only one more train for Johan- 
nesburg, and I was able to catch it. 

6. George Coe and Kirby Page: VIOLENCE, 



Such notions as "violence" and "non-violence" are used in 
different ways, depending partly on the school of thought em- 
ploying them. Is violence to be equated with physical force? 
Is non-violence to be identified with refusal to use physical 
force? Or should the distinction between "violence" and "non- 
violence" cut across the difference between physical and non- 
physical force? Under what circumstances is the use of physi- 
cal force legitimate and when is it illegitimate? What meaning 
can be ascribed to such conceptions as "spiritual" or "intel- 
lectual" violence? 

These are a few of the questions which have troubled those 
who have thought about the utilization of violence in human 
affairs. Most would agree that war is an example of violence; 
but beyond this there are disagreements of many kinds. The 
problem of violence and non-violence is, of course, closely 
connected with that of coercion. Some believe that, theoreti- 
cally, no form of coercion is ever justifiable, while others main- 
tain that coercion of various types is inseparable from life it- 
self and that the main problem is to differentiate between 
"harmful" (violent) coercion and "constructive" or "harm- 
less" (non-violent) coercion. 

It is to questions of this kind that the two readings that fol- 
low address themselves. In general they endeavor to distin- 
guish between morally legitimate (non-violent) types of 
coercion and those that can be termed illegitimate (violent). 
In the first reading, George A. Coe points out some of the 
difficulties involved in the use of such terms as "violence" and 
"non-violence" and attempts to redefine the distinction be- 
tween them, rejecting the idea that all use of physical force is 
to be repudiated. In the second, Kirby Page, writing within the 
context of Christian ethics, asks whether, and under what cir- 
cumstances, coercion is ever justifiable. 

Both readings are excerpted from The World Tomorrow, 
the Coe selection from Vol. 15, October 19, 1932, pp. 378-80 


and the Page statement from Vol. 15, June 1932, pp. 173— 
75. The World Tomorrow was a leading pacifist and radical 
American publication of the twenties and thirties. It was active 
in the critical analysis of militarism and social injustice and 
included among its contributors men like Norman Thomas, 
the Socialist leader. Both Coe and Page were frequent con- 
tributors. Page, a Christian minister, was the author of a long 
volume, National Defense (New York: Farrar, 1931), which 
embodied a vigorous attack on military methods of national 
defense. Throughout their writings both Coe and Page sought 
to deal with ethical problems not only in the abstract but also 
in terms of the concrete dilemmas men faced in their social 
and political struggles. 


The decision of Mr. Gandhi to starve himself as a means 
of bringing his fellow Indians and the British to their senses 
thrusts into the light an obscurity in the current antithesis be- 
tween violence and non-violence as methods of social change. 
Killing a human being surely is the employment of what is or- 
dinarily meant by violence. That this human being is oneself 
rather than another does not alter the nature of the act as far 
as violence, in the ordinary sense, is concerned. Rather, the 
deliberate selection of a particular person for this fate ac- 
centuates the question how such an act can be included in a 
policy of non-violence. I do not mean to intimate that the 
Mahatma has departed a hair's breadth from his announced 
principles, but rather that his principles themselves are am- 
biguous. There is, of course, an enormously important differ- 
ence between his line of conduct and that of the violent among 
his countrymen, but the nature of this difference has not been 
made clear. 

We of the West who favor drastic social reconstruction but 

shrink from forcible coercion have likewise failed to define 

1 the boundaries of our intended conduct. If anyone has even 

\ attempted to define the violence from which we shrink, I have 

\ not been fortunate enough to learn of the fact. Moral judg- 

\ ments have been plentiful, but the object judged, the fact- 

^-element in the judgment, is shadowy. 

The usual assumption appears to be that one passes over 
from non-violence to violence if, in addition to mental in- 
fluences, one employs unwelcome mechanical means and 
measures, especially such means as cannot be reversed by the 
one towards whom they are directed. Here fall such acts as 
destroying or maiming a human body, or putting it under 
physical restraint; taking away the means of life, such as food, 


or the instruments of voluntary activity, implements for the 
production of goods and for the communication of ideas. 
Threats of such action likewise are accounted violent; indeed, 
putting one in terror of physical harm is recognized by the 
common law as one mode of assault. 

Some persons would include under the head of violence not 
only the taking away of the means of life and action, but also 
preventing men from securing these means, as by an embargo. 
But here a gap in the concept of violence begins to appear. 
For mere non-intercourse, mere refusal to buy and sell, can 
produce hunger and death just as surely as an embargo by 
means of warships. Shall we, then, include such non-inter- 
course, which is mechanical passivity rather than mechanical 
action, under the category of violent conduct? I do not see 
how the answer, if violence is an ethically significant con- 
cept, can be anything other than affirmative. For certainly, 
given the present interdependence of men, we can weaken, 
distort, and destroy the bodies of our fellows by merely doing 
nothing. We can gain the ends of overt violence either by em- 
ploying mechanical forces or by declining to employ them. 

It appears, therefore, that the ethical distinction that we 
have in mind is not happily expressed by the terms "violent" 
and "non-violent." This will be the more evident if we ask 
ourselves how even non-violent mental influences operate. For 
communication between persons is a psycho-physical affair; 
we know of no bodiless, non-mechanical social relation what- 
ever. When you speak to me, you start mechanical processes 
in the air, in my ears, and in my brain— processes from which 
I have no means of escape if I am in your presence. Hence it 
is that a spoken word can smite as truly as a fist. Public opin- 
ion can restrain me physically as effectively as prison bars. A 
few whispers in a community can start a run upon a bank. A 
prejudice passed on from parents to children can disinherit 
a whole race economically and socially. 

Yet the current antithesis between violent and non-violent, 
unclear though it be, points towards an ethical distinction, a 
real difference in conduct, that is immeasurably great. This 
difference, as our discussion should help us to see, concerns 
altogether our relations to one another as persons, not at all 
the contrast between mental and physical forces. The really 
basic demand of the non-violents is that we recognize ultimate 
worth in every person without exception, even in our worst 
enemies. Here is the reason for recoiling from the use of 
physical compulsion: it seems to place ultimate reliance upon 
what is non-spiritual, non-ethical; it lends itself too readily to 
selfishness and self-will; it sets person against person, and thus 
tends to multiply the original evil. 

This reasoning is sound as far as it goes, but its sufficiency 


as a guide for conduct depends upon a fact-element in ex- 
perience, namely, the conditions that promote or hinder the 
realization of ourselves as persons. These conditions cannot 
be ascertained a priori, and they are not included in the con- 
cept of the value of persons. In our conduct we have to do 
with cause-and-effect relations within the order of nature; spe- 
cifically, relations within a psycho-physical complex. Empiri- 
cal research has shown that we develop as persons through 
reciprocity with one another as well as through manipulation 
of things. But these two factors do not stand upon the same 
level. Without reciprocity, development is impossible, no mat- 
ter how much opportunity or freedom one has in the mechani- 
cal sphere. He who oppresses his fellows depresses his own 
self. Respect for his personality, therefore, cannot be effec- 
tively exercised by permitting him to persist in his conduct. 
Indeed, there is plenty of evidence that some children and 
some adults "come to themselves" only through encounter- 
ing an ultimatum that thwarts their desires. 

Nor is this the whole of the matter. Since the value of per- 
sons is our basic consideration, we have to do with a triadic 
relationship. We have to guard and promote personality not 
only in the oppressor and in ourselves as would-be deliverers, 
but also in the whole of a given society. Injustice, when it is 
habitual, rooted, and from its own point of view successful, 
becomes conventional, an accepted thing, and a force in the 
informal education that every society bestows upon the young. 
Such a social atmosphere is full of disease-germs of the spirit. 
Witness the ethical stupefying of our young people, and the 
ethical paralysis of the present generation of adults, because 
of daily contacts with greed that is allowed to have its own way. 
Is it not clear that by abstaining from the use of force to stop 
injustice we might abandon to an evil fate both the personality 
of the oppressor and the personalities of the rising generation? 
Irresistible mechanical action against stubborn men is the only 
way, under some conditions, to demonstrate complete respect 
for persons. 

The test of all proposals to employ compulsion, and like- 
wise of every refusal to employ it, is this: Is the proposed 
act or inaction likely to increase, in the long run, the reciproc- 
ity through which personality thrives and in which society 
has its being? Will the growth of children into distinct, varied, 
self-determining men and women be protected and furthered? 
Will the cooperative mastery and use of natural resources in- 
crease? Will these resources be devoted more than now to the 
development and use of the worthwhile capacities of men? 

By this test all governmental compulsions are to be judged. 
From the confused point of view that we have been con- 
sidering, taxation might be construed as violence. Indeed, the 


cry of "confiscation" attends almost any endeavor to increase 
taxes. But the ethical question is, Does this tax provide op- 
portunity for the life, growth, happiness and fellowship of the 
persons who are affected by it? This, and this only, determines 
the ethical limits of the taxing power. Similarly, the police 
power in all its phases, and the participation of government in 
production and distribution, are to be weighed, not in the 
scales of abstract and pre-determined rights, but by noting 
the level of personal life and fellowship that they produce in 
the long run. Any use of force that raises this level is justi- 
fied. To deny this would imply either that we subordinate 
persons to things, or else that some persons are mere means 
while others are ends. 

The practical problem that hides within the antithesis, 
"non-violence versus violence," can be solved therefore only 
by a pragmatic and scientific inquiry into the question, What 
use of force does, as a matter of fact, protect life, further 
health and growth, increase mutuality, and enrich enjoyments? 
The great illusion that befogs the world concerns this matter 
of fact. Men expect from force what it does not accomplish, 
at the same time that they refuse to employ force where k 
would be socially constructive. The demonstrable folly of war 
is that it expends enormous and irreplaceable resources of 
every sort without attaining the idealistic ends that it sets be- 
fore itself. To become a pacifist, one need only be realistic^ 
The non-pacifists are the visionaries; they are the "impracti- 
cable idealists"! Similarly, the faults of our dreadful penal sys- 
tem and the lack of system center, as Warden Lawes has 
shown in his remarkable book on Sing Sing, constitute a per- 
sistent illusion concerning the effectiveness of force. 

Concerning all class rule two things can be said: It main- 
tains itself ultimately, whatever its legal form, by reliance 
upon force rather than consent, and it does not and cannot 
provide the conditions for maximum personal growth whether 
of the privileged few or of the many. The fact that special 
privilege warps the personalities of its beneficiaries has an 
important bearing upon the method of getting rid of this sort 
of social incubus. These ailing personalities cannot cure them- 
selves; they have neither the insight nor the grit to do it; "it is 
easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle." Their 
privileges must be removed by surgery; there is no other way. 
This implies on the part of men of good will an implacable 
determination to enforce laws that are good, to make and 
enforce needed new laws, to apply economic pressure, to de- 
stroy the social standing of oppressors and parasites, to cir- 
cumvent their designs to employ armed force, and in general 
to exhaust them by unremitting aggressive action on all sides. 


This policy relies fundamentally upon wit rather than upon 
might, upon developing and organizing and toning up the wit 
of increasing masses of men. At strategic points it may require 
the forcible disarming of the armed. If the food supply of the 
world should be concentrated in the hands of a few while 
the many hunger, no ethical reason could be alleged why the 
masses should not take forcible possession of the means for 
their life and for the health and growth of their children. And 
if a defender of special privilege should interpose his body 
between hungry children and available food, his body should 
be gotten out of the way. It should be gotten out of the way 
by the method that gives greatest promise of releasing his 
mind from its prison, but in any case the children should be 

This is dangerous doctrine, undoubtedly; but all policies 
with respect to special privilege are dangerous. They are 
dangerous, all of them, for one and the same reason— our 
proneness to forget that the ultimate victory must lie in a 
positive increase of fellowship among enriched personalities. 
Absolute pacifists and non-resisters do not escape this dan- 
ger. To the degree that they are unready to apply a pragmatic 
test to the use of force, alleging that they are unwilling to in- 
vade the sacredness of the oppressor's personality, they are in 
danger of ignoring the sacredness of child-personalities that at 
the moment are being stunted and distorted by agencies that 
could in some cases be checked by a judicious show of deter- 
mined force. 

The sum of the matter is that, as long as violence and non- 
violence are conceived in physical or mechanical terms, the 
distinction between them carries no ethical meaning whatever; 
that ethical meaning is reached for the first time when we fix 
attention upon the growth of immature persons and the pos- 
sible integration of mature ones into a rich and varied volun- 
tary fellowship; that the use of force, psychical and mechani- 
cal, is unavoidable, whatever our plans and purposes; that 
force is one essential to fellowship, and that failure to use it 
aggressively for social ends implicates us in other people's ag- 
gressive use of it for anti-social ends; that the ethically justi- 
fied scope of force is not restricted to what is commanded or 
permitted by law; that the test for all employment of force is 
its observed effect in opportunities and incentives for growth 
of persons and for fellowship and cooperation; and that, fi- 
nally, the danger that is in this doctrine is inherent in personal 
life as such— it is a risk that the Creator took when he made 



This generation threatens to destroy its own choicest values 
by the reckless use of violence. Greed creates fear, and fear 
resorts to violence. If life consists chiefly in grabbing for self, 
family, nation or race; and if competition and strife are en- 
couraged and stimulated on every level; and if man's genius 
is prostituted to the search for annihilating weapons; and if 
the units of combat become more titanic in size and power; 
then the doom of our civilization is imminent. The futility 
and menace of ruthlessness are everywhere evident. Hanging 
and electrocution cannot hold back the crime wave; military 
and naval preparedness cannot afford security, and only ac- 
centuates the danger; suppression of civil liberties and resort 
to intimidation and brutality cannot preserve property rights 
and safeguard human values in industry. Urgently and des- 
perately, this generation needs an effective alternative for vio- 

Jesus' experience of God and his attitude toward men offer 
an inestimable contribution to modern society. To the degree 
that men live every day as good members of God's Home, 
greed and violence disappear. Does this mean, then, that Tol- 
stoy was right in maintaining that every use of force and co- 
ercion is contrary to the spirit of Jesus and therefore immoral? 
That all depends upon whether or not coercion is necessarily 
a violation of the family spirit. If the answer is in the affirma- 
tive, the only consistent philosophy for a follower of Jesus is 
that of anarchism, and the only logical procedure that of with- 
drawal from all responsibility for and participation in organ- 
ized society. 

But the evidence does not drive us to such a conclusion. It 
is possible that coercion may be administered in such a way as 
to prove restraining and redemptive. Wherever in a home 
there is immaturity, lack of self-control, and anti-social stimuli, 
coercion may be necessary in order to safeguard the other 
members of the family, and to prevent remorse for irrepa- 
rable wrongdoing. To say that restraint administered in love 
and with the welfare of all concerned vividly in mind is im- 
moral, is to reduce society to anarchy and chaos. 

Unless effective non-violent means of coercion can be 
devised and utilized, the victims of injustice will, in blindness 
and desperation, take up weapons of violence. In our kind of 
world, to rely upon anarchy and inaction is to turn the reins 
over to violence. 


If the family circle is to be extended beyond blood relatives 
and made to embrace men of all classes and races, effective 
social organization must be created and maintained by mu- 
tual goodwill, supported in emergencies and abnormal in- 
stances by ethical and effective restraints. Here we are con- 
fronted with one of the most urgent problems of our day. 
How can society restrain criminals, and restore them to right 
relations with their fellows, without vengeance in the form of 
a noose or an electric chair? How can the workers utilize the 
strike and other forms of economic coercion, and at the same 
time avoid hatred and violence? How can Mahatma Gandhi 
exert sufficient pressure through non-violent non-cooperation 
to secure freedom for India, without stimulating hatred and 
resorting to violence? 

Our difficulty comes, of course, in deciding where ethical 
coercion ends and unethical violence begins. The only person 
who is able to escape from this dilemma is the complete 
anarchist who repudiates every form of restraint and com- 
pulsion—and such a man has no solution to offer for the im- 
minently menacing problems of the hour. All other persons 
are obliged to draw the line somewhere, and orderly progress 
depends upon the intellectual keenness and ethical sensitive- 
ness with which the situation is confronted. 

None of the three possible ways of dealing with social in- 
justice can entirely prevent or remove human suffering. Re- 
sistance by violence tends to increase and intensify suffering; 
inaction or failure to exert effective restraint perpetuates the 
misery of the victims of crime or exploitation; non-violent co- 
ercion likewise often results in suffering. We are driven, there- 
fore, to the conclusion that, in an imperfect and developing 
world, suffering is inescapable. The policy of wisdom is to 
use that method which involves a minimum of suffering 
and which offers a maximum of redemption. 

No method of dealing with crime can entirely eliminate 
suffering. Ruthlessness and capital punishment, on the one 
hand, and ineffective restraint, on the other, produce terrible 
havoc. The imprisonment of a criminal likewise causes suffer- 
ing to his family and to the man himself. If, however, during 
the period of separation from society, redemptive processes- 
physical, educational, moral and spiritual— are brought to 
bear upon the evildoer, the result may be deliverance from 
anti-social tendencies or habits, and the restoration of the in- 
dividual to his family and to society. 

Failure to restrain greed and exploitation produces much 
misery, as does also resort to violent class warfare. The in- 
dustrial strike likewise may and frequently does cause intense 


suffering, both to the public and to the strikers. But a non- 
violent strike may enable the exploited workers to gain more 
justice and fuller liberation from degradation. In spite of the 
fact that workers are often goaded to the point of desperation 
by misery, oppression, and the violent tactics used by employ- 
ers, violence on their part seems ineffective and unethical. 
Likewise a strike that results in direct and inescapable starva- 
tion seems indefensible. 

Imperialist powers are blinded by tradition, prestige and 
self-interest, and vainly imagine that it is for the good of hu- 
manity that they should perpetuate their rule and continue to 
bear "the white man's burden." Their assumption of superi- 
ority and the contemptuous way in which they often treat the 
"natives" is humiliating and degrading. Sensitive Indians, for" 
example, are at the breaking point, and regard continued 
British domination as intolerable. Violent revolution is the 
historic method of handling such an inflammable situation. 
Mahatma Gandhi's campaign of non-violent non-cooperation 
is undoubtedly causing much suffering, both in England and 
in India. It is to be observed, however, that the additional un- 
employed in British textile areas are not starving, but con- 
stitute an extra burden upon the unemployment fund. To the 
extent that the people of India will follow Gandhi in refrain- 
ing from hatred and violence, on the one hand, and refusing 
all cooperation with the British Government, on the other, 
they will be able to exert effective non-violent pressure upon 
Great Britain. The strike and the non-violent boycott seem to 
be more ethical than acquiescence in an evil situation or the 
use of violence. 


The present reading is significant in that it is the effort of a 
professional sociologist to analyze the problems and place of 
non-violent conduct in human life. The author points out that 
besides those human activities in which one co-operates, there 
are others in which submission or resistance to others appear 
to be the only alternatives. And we can resist either by repel- 
ling the aggression which we impute to others or by attempt- 
ing to change the activities of others in order to advance our 
own principles. The writer then discusses the methods whereby 
we can resist or attempt to change conduct, giving much at- 
tention to persuasion and non-violent coercion. 

One of his most important observations is that campaigns 
of non-violent coercion, while potentially very effective in the 
struggle for justice, are not infrequently frustrated either 
through discouragement or because discipline is insufficient to 
prevent an outbreak of violence. 

He emphasizes that the "political" method, through demo- 
cratic procedures, normally offers the best way to promote 
orderly social change. Discussion, conciliation, legislative ac- 
tivity, and voting can be used to develop a public will for 
justice. Yet such devices depend in the end on an enlightened 
electorate, which may be slow in developing. Meanwhile, some 
method of social struggle must be discovered which will have 
the capacity to dramatize injustice, arouse the sluggish elec- 
torate, and correct imbalances of power. The means of non- 
violent coercion, correctly used, would seem to fulfill this 

The author of the reading, Clarence Marsh Case, was born 
in 1874. He was educated at Earlham College and was 
awarded the Ph.D. by the University of Wisconsin. In the 
early part of his career he was pastor of a Friends (Quaker) 
Meeting and later on taught history and sociology at William 
Penn College (Oskaloosa, Iowa), the State University of Iowa, 
and the University of Southern California. He wrote several 
books. Our reading is taken from Chapter XXI of his Non- 


violent Coercion (New York: Century, 1923), probably his 
best-known work. 

There are obviously two or three possible types of response 
to the activities of other persons as they impinge upon one's 
own interests. Aside from those in which one actively cooper- 
ates, or maintains an attitude of indifferent neutrality, there 
arise countless situations in which the choice lies between sub- 
mission and resistance. The last named is the domain of con- 
duct with which we are here concerned, and it also in turn 
presents two aspects. The first is the case where the subject re- 
sists or repels the aggressions of others; the second is that 
where he seeks to modify the conduct of others for the pur- 
pose of promoting his own ideals. While this often tends to 
merge into some form of coercion, such is not necessarily the 
case; since for one who resists or seeks actively to control the 
conduct of others there are three, and if our analysis is cor- ..... 
rect, only three, methods of procedure. These are persuasion, 
non-violent coercion, and violence. 

Persuasion is that form of social action which proceeds by 
means of convincing others of the lightness or expediency of a 
given course of conduct. It may rely upon argumentation, 
which is the recognized procedure to which the name is com- 
monly applied; or it may seek to convince by suffering. Per- 
suasion through suffering presents two types. The first is that so 
abundantly illustrated in passive resistance of the older, ortho- 
dox type. Perhaps nothing has stood out more prominently in 
our account of the great passive resistants than their stress 
upon capacity and willingness to suffer. This suffering may be 
passively endured at the hands of others or self-inflicted, as in 
the modern instances known as the "hunger-strike." In either 
case the method is to produce in the mind of the one appealed 
to, i.e., the subject, a change of mental attitude without the 
use of coercion. In persuasion of the ordinary type he is con- 
vinced by a series of ideas or chain of reasoning. In persuasion 
by suffering it is done through the sight of distress which a 
word or simple act of desistance or consent on his own part 
would avert. When the suffering is self-inflicted for the express 
purpose of producing such a dilemma in the mind of the sub- 
ject, as in the hunger-strike, this form of persuasion partakes 
of the nature of non-violent coercion, as explained below. But 
in the typical situation, where the suffering, while not self- 
originated, is passively endured, the subject is persuaded and 
swerved from his course by a rush of admiration, gratitude, 
compassion, remorse, or other powerful emotion, while some- 
times his hostile and threatening attitude is suddenly changed 
into one of active benevolence. All this has been concretely il- 


Iustrated and fully explained in our earlier chapters, and the 
purpose here is simply to bring it under its proper category as 
essentially a form of persuasion. In a recent sociological trea- 
tise the psychology of such situations is clearly formulated as 
follows: "A significant feature of sentiments and attitudes is 
inner tension and consequent tendency to mutation. Love 
changes into hate, or dislike is transformed into affection, or 
humility is replaced by self-assertion. This mutability is ex- 
plained by the fact . . . that the sentiment-attitude is a com- 
plex of wishes and desires organized around a person or ob- 
ject. In this complex one motive— love, for example— is for a 
moment the dominant component. In this case components 
which tend to excite repulsion, hostility, and disgust are for the 
moment suppressed. With a change in the situation . . . these 
suppressed components are released and, gaining control, con- 
vert the system into the opposite sentiment, as hate." 1 

In the situation under discussion here, wherein the aggressor 
and passive resistant confront each other, the mental move- 
ment is in the opposite direction, i.e., from hate to love; but it 
will be readily perceived that the process described is the 

In meeting the opposition of hostile social forces the typical 
passive resistant has always shown himself strong to suffer. 
Therein are seen his "tokens of power," which have helped 
the laws of crowd psychology to work oftentimes in his favor. 
The courage and spectacular sufferings of the unresisting mar- 
tyr impress tremendously the imagination of the crowd, pro- 
ducing "a startling image that fills and besets the mind."- In 
studying the religious persecutions of earlier passive resistants, 
the further fact must not be overlooked that the infliction of 
punishment and martyrdom is made a public affair by the 
persecuting authorities, in the very nature of the case. For they 
not only seek to impress the public mind but even depend 
upon the multitude to make the affair a success, although the 
people sometimes play a disappointing part from the point of 
view of the party of bigotry. Allard shows 3 how it was the 
practice during the early Christian persecutions to make of the 
occasion "a spectacle and fete." The crowd gathered around 
the scene of torture, he finds, were "not only spectators, they 
were almost actors: the crowd filled then a role analogous to 
that of the chorus in the ancient tragedy; it was heard loudly 
expressing its sentiments: many times even, as if uncon- 
sciously, it fell to it to distinguish the various moral aspects of 

1 R. E. Park and E. W. Burgess, Introduction to the Science of 
Sociology, University of Chicago Press, 1921, p. 442. 

2 Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd (New York: Macmillan), p. 58. 

3 In his Dix Lecons sur le Martyre, pp. 332-33. 


the drama which was being played before it." 4 A sort of social 
dialectic is thus set in motion by these "men of ardent convic- 
tion" who have always exercised the power to sway the multi- 
tude. 5 The spectacle of such suffering for a cause may lead 
even the persecutor to reexamine his own dogmas, if for no 
other purpose than to revel in their correctness. But reexami- 
nation admits new light, this modifies his view, and often the 
conquered becomes in the end the conqueror; for so effective 
is this social indirection of the passive resistant in forming 
public opinion that eventually persuasion may become the 
wiser policy on the part of government. 

As a result of his striking devotion to principle, and his 
peculiarities, the image of the peace sectarian, as the symbol 
of a certain moral and social integrity, becomes impressed 
upon the public mind, figures in literature, art, and even in 
advertising, and is of value to all concerned. It protects its 
bearers by capitalizing the past history of the sect for integrity 
and good will, and it inspires, through imitation, the same 
qualities in others. Thus, in the end, persecution, as "a short- 
cut to uniformity," 7 goes down in defeat before the round- 
about moral and social indirection of passive resistance. 

It should be understood, however, that this applies only to 
those few instances where a passively suffering individual or 
group causes, by such means, an assailant to desist from his 
purpose, or advances an unpopular social policy toward final 
acceptance by society. It is to the process operating in such 
situations only that the term persuasion through suffering is 
herein applied. 

The forms of non-violent coercion described in the later 
chapters of this book constitute the purest, most typical ex- 
amples of indirect action in the field of social behavior. They 
are the strike, the boycott, and non-cooperation, which last- 
named is an extension of both the preceding to non-economic 
relations. One and the same principle underlies all these vari- 
ous manifestations, and that is a strategic recognition of the 
fundamental and indispensable importance of cooperation in 
every form and phase of associated life. More vital even than 
this is its recognition that this cooperation is necessarily more 
or less voluntary in every social situation and process, not 
excepting the grossest forms of exploitation, oppression, and 
tyranny.' In the last analysis the victims always gild their 

4 Allard, op. cit., pp. 332-33. 

5 Le Bon, op. cit., p. 114. 

c For example, the various commercial labels exploiting the pic- 
turesque images of the Shaker, Puritan, and Quaker. 

7 Cf . E. A. Ross, Social Psychology (New York: Macmillan, 
1908), Chap. XVII. 


own chains, even where they do not help to forge them. No 
people on earth ever yet had the dignity and self-control to 
refrain from gaping at the triumphal processions of its con- 
querors, or to refuse to validate the master's aggressions by 
accepting at his own valuation the titles and honors bestowed 
by his hand. . . . 

The strike, as every one knows, cuts off the employer-work- 
man relation, while the boycott suspends the contact of buyer 
and seller. In all such situations the subject against whom 
pressure is being directed is presented a pair of real alterna- 
tives, provided the strike (or boycott) is correctly conceived 
and opportunely carried out. To take a concrete instance, the 
employer is given the choice between ceasing to purchase raw 
materials from non-union sources or to suffer the interruption 
of the productive operations brought about by the withdrawal 
of his labor supply. Neither of these alternatives appeals to his 
desires or his judgment, yet he is compelled by the situation to 
choose between them. In the example assumed no act or threat 
of physical force or violence is used against him, on the one 
hand, nor is he persuaded of the excellence of either alterna- 
tive, on the other. He is utterly opposed to the idea of ceasing 
to purchase his materials in the accustomed place, but he looks 
upon the disruption of his productive operations as scarcely a 
lesser evil. Whichever he accepts of the alternatives, he re- 
mains unconvinced, either by the assent of his judgment to 
facts and reasons given in argument, or by a reversal of his 
emotional state, his sentiment-attitude, 8 through the contem- 
plation of suffering passively endured. He is coerced, non- 
violently coerced it is true, but coerced nevertheless. 

For many persons, perhaps to most, the word "coercion" 
has an ominous and odious sound; and this is especially true of 
those who might otherwise feel a special interest in non-violent 
procedure apart from coercion. In fact, we have noticed in 
earlier pages the argument of those who condemn the strike 
in itself, no matter how just or peaceable, for the simple rea- 
son that it is a form of coercion. Moreover, even among those 
who do not lay so much stress upon distinctly pacific and con- 
ciliatory conduct, there is a tendency to think of all coercion 
as necessarily involving the application of physical force. Such 
is not the correct interpretation, even in the common usage 
recorded in the dictionary. Thus Webster speaks of coercion as 
"the application to another of such force, either physical or 
moral, as to induce or constrain him to do against his will 
something that he would not otherwise have done.'' 9 This in 

8 Cf . Park and Burgess, op. cit., pp. 451-90. 

9 Italics mine. 


itself disposes of the notion that the justification of coercion 
carries with it the indorsement of injurious physical force, but 
other authority, both lay and clerical, is easy to find. Thus De 
Maeztu contends: "Coercion ... is bad when it is used for 
evil purposes, as ... to punish thought, to put difficulties in 
the way of the production of wealth, and to impede the de- 
velopment of human values, either cultural or vital. Coercion 
is a good thing, on the other hand, when it sacrifices individual 
apathy on the altar of national defence or the progress of 
thought, hygiene, morality, or national wealth." 10 A clerical 
writer likewise maintains that that aspect of a strike which 
consists in "the enforcing of certain demands is by its very na- 
ture morally indifferent." 11 

It is beyond dispute that the most righteous means can be 
used for the wickedest ends, and evil methods are oftentimes 
practised that good may come. Nevertheless, there is an in- 
trinsic quality about methods, apart from the motives and ob- 
jects of those who use them, and it renders them unequally de- 
sirable in themselves. Accordingly it is here maintained that 
some methods, notably violence, i.e., the use of physical force 
in private hands for personal ends, are essentially and incura- 
bly evil. On the other hand, persuasion is essentially good, or 
at worst non-injurious, in itself. Government, in the political 
sense, is a combination of both the preceding, and tends to- 
ward good or bad according to the relative emphasis placed 
upon persuasion or violence. Non-violent coercion presents a 
less simple problem, since it combines the inherent excellence 
of non-violence with the more questionable element of coer- 
cion, so that it, more than any of the other methods named, is 
good or bad according to the object sought and the spirit in 
which it is pursued. This makes it of first importance to under- 
stand clearly the essential spirit of passive, or non-violent, re- 
sistance. X 

Willingness to suffer is inseparable from all passive resist- 
ance of the purest type; and a measure of the same fortitude 
and self-control must be at their command who would success- 
fully wield the related methods of non-violent coercion. It is 
eminently right that this should be so, for thus only can the 
interests of society be secured. True non-violent coercion is; 
and ought to be, a two-edged sword. In other words, it causes, 

10 Authority, Liberty, and Function, in the Light of the War, by 
Ramiro De Maeztu (London and New York: 1916), p. 113. 

11 The Morality of the Strike, by the Rev. Donald Alexander Mc- 
Lean, M.A., S.T.L. (New York: Kenedy, 1921), p. 44. This work 
relies mainly on the papal letters on social questions and other Ro- 
man Catholic authorities; it contains an introduction by the Rev. 
John A. Ryan, D.D. 


and it is well that it should cause, inconvenience and suffering 
to those who wield it, as well as to those against whom it is in- 
voked. In this it is exactly contrary to violent methods; for a 
principal reason accounting for the appalling growth of ter- 
rorism in modern times is the unfortunate fact that the de- 
velopment of firearms and high explosives carries no auto- 
matic check and penalty for all who use them, as in the case 
before us. As for the methods of non-violent coercion, par- 
ticularly the strike and the boycott, the public usually stands 
more or less in position to determine which way the blow shall 
fall, that is, which party to the controversy shall suffer the 
greater loss. It is well that this should be so, for it is not in the 
interest of the general good that any group of men should 
exert irresponsible power. So it constitutes a saving virtue of 
these methods that in the strike or boycott in their pure form, 
the voluntary moral, financial, and social cooperation of the 
public is required for success. When violence or intimidation 
is resorted to on either side, it constitutes a confession of weak- 
ness in the party using it, suggesting a lack of confidence in the 
ability of one's cause to command the necessary support, or a 
greater willingness to inflict than to endure pain and loss. For 
these reasons, we hold that there is a most vital, salutary, and 
socially necessary connection between the open, truthful, self- 
denying spirit of passive resistance and the constructive use of 
non-violent coercion in any of its forms. This fairness and 
willingness to face the consequences are characteristic of pas- 
sive resistance, whether its opponent be private parties or the 
state itself. 12 

The unflinching willingness of the passive resistant to bear 
his just punishment for refusing to obey the commands of the 
law has been frequently alluded to in earlier chapters. It is 
safe to say that no true non-violent resistant ever entered into 
a combination to evade the consequences of civil disobedience, 
as in certain clubs for fine paying reported in an English legal 
journal. 13 For, as the commentator on this phenomenon 
points out, "the object of the infliction of fines is to deter per- 

12 The position taken by the principal actor in the now famous 
Debs Case was distinctly that of a true passive, i.e., non-violent and 
moral resistance. "I had my own views in regard to the war, and I 
knew in advance that an expression of what was in my heart would 
invite a prison sentence under the Espionage Law. I took my stand 
in accordance with the dictates of my conscience, and was prepared 
to accept the consequences without complaint." Eugene V. Debs, in 
The Century Magazine, July 1922. 

13 "Clubs for Fine Paying," in The Justice of the Peace, and 
County, Borough, Poor Law Union, and Parish Law Recorder, Lon- 
don, Vol. LXXXIV, No. 8, February 21, 1920. 


sons from breaches of the law which would render them liable 
to such punishment, so that it necessarily follows that when 
an offender has no longer to suffer the punishment, because 
the fine need not be paid by him, the object of the law in de- 
creeing the punishment is frustrated." Such agreements are 
therefore held by jurists to partake of the nature of a con- 
spiracy to defeat the ends of justice. But we have yet to hear 
of an instance where non-violent resistants have shown the 
least disposition toward such a purpose. 

The truth is that passive resistance and non-violent coercion 
are methods of social behavior that possess in theory the most 
extraordinary claims upon the consideration of all men and 
women who are actuated by a zeal for truth and social justice, 
unmixed with the spirit of hatred and reprisal. Indeed, it does 
not seem too much to affirm that here lies at hand, so far as its 
theoretical merits are concerned, the most just and powerful 
weapon conceivable in human affairs. If resolutely applied, in 
a spirit of unswerving fairness, by populations or classes able 
to control themselves and to pay the price in suffering, non- 
cooperation seems capable of destroying every last program 
of tyranny and exploitation in the world. But, while the ab- 
stract truth of this can hardly be denied, it is valid largely in 
theory alone. In actual practice the strike, the boycott, non- 
cooperation, and every other program of non-violence is 
dogged by two mortal enemies, to either one or the other of 
which it is almost sure to fall a prey. That is to say it either 
ebbs away through discouragement and apathy, or flares forth 
into self-destructive violence. And the longer the struggle the 
more sure is its defeat through the one or the other of these 
betrayals. In short, non-violent coercion demands a stronger 
self-control, a more enduring solidarity of purpose, a greater 
capacity for passive suffering, a higher ethical development, 
than most human beings have thus far attained. It is capable 
of great achievements at favorable moments, but its victories 
must be swift, its campaigns not too long drawn out, and its 
field of operations more or less restricted. In the strike and 
the boycott, and all other applications of this principle, an un- 
usually heavy draft is made upon human emotions and senti- 
ments, whether of resentment, moral indignation, group-loy- 
alty, class-consciousness, or devotion to a cause, all of which 
require a nervous tension greater than that required for the 
ordinary conduct of life. Non-violence, therefore, whether it 
takes the form of persuasion or coercion, seems too idealistic 
and exacting to accomplish the every-day work of the world. 
Yet both these methods are of greatest value when kept within 
the bounds set by the emotional limitations of human nature. 

In connection with this tendency to rapid exhaustion on the 
part of mental exaltation, another practical merit of the po- 


litical method appears. It avoids the overstrain on feeling by 
combining the advantages of intermittency and permanence. 
In the periodical excitement of the political campaign, the 
processes of argumentation and persuasion have free play, and 
emotional tension rises, with safety, to great heights. This, 
once registered at the polls, permits the feelings to relax, be- 
cause they have thereby become more or less permanently 
embodied as the public will expressed in law or legal pro- 
cedure, which endure by their own momentum until contrary 
forces accumulate in sufficient volume for their modification 
or repeal. Thus the purpose of an hour of high feeling, when 
expressed through the semi-rational processes of political pro- 
cedure, may be counted on to operate long after the ebbing 
away of the emotions that attended its origin. 

Because of these facts, among others, it may truly be said 
that the liberties of a people consist largely in its institutions, 
or at least in its accumulated culture. Of course no stupid and 
ignoble population could permanently maintain a high and 
free institutional life. Mr. Herbert Spencer was most finely 
right when he said that "there is no political alchemy by which 
you can get golden conduct out of leaden instincts." 14 Never- 
theless, a rich social heritage will carry a people a long way, 
not only because of initial momentum but also because such 
structures constitute social forces in themselves. While it is not 
true in the long run, yet, for the time being, the culture, and 
particularly the political institutions, of a people may be better 
than those who created it. This is because it embodies in per- 
manent form the experiences of the better moments of the 
social life. In fact, many of the permanent treasures of liberty, 
which seem to endure with the uncreated and impersonal sta- 
bility of Gibraltar, were really the slogans of some particular, 
local place and hour. For example, the struggle of the Ameri- 
can colonials against Great Britain, was . . . the protest of a 
very limited, commercially motived class at first, and it was 
directed against specific measures of trade which it sought 
merely to have repealed. Even after it was widened both in 
scope and purpose the struggle was for a long time very much 
in the nature of a political family quarrel. Yet in the course of 
events it was said that "taxation without representation is 
tyranny," and this has been enshrined in American tradition 
as a universal principle of freedom which moves on a level 
above the accidents of time and place. So will it be found with 
the earlier principles, i.e., "bills of rights," upon which this 
one rested in part; and so will it be found with all that have 
followed it. Struck off from the fire of conflict, and for parti- 

14 Social Statics and The Man vs. the State, essay on "The Com- 
ing Slavery." 


san purposes, in an hour of high feeling, they embody truths 
and ideals that come to possess an eternal and universal signifi- 
cance, and are so accepted during the more placid times that 
succeed their stormy origin. Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, 
as in England and America under the shadow of the World 
War, they rise up to hamper and plague those who never sus- 
pected that their allegiance to those "sacred and immutable 
principles of freedom" was a mere lip-service. In such a situa- 
tion, if those bending all their energies to meet an actual crisis 
in the world of action can hear this voice of the nation's 
calmer and better reflections and permit it to rule even the 
passionate purposes of the moment, the traditions and institu- 
tions will act as a balance-wheel, and its liberties will be pre- 
served. We repeat, then, that in this systematic blending of the 
feeling and the remembering aspects of the social experience, 
this combination of partisan persuasion and impersonal coer- 
cion, lies the strongest claim of the political method. 

It is plain that, if persuasion and non-violent coercion must 
fall short of realizing the largest hopes of aroused and eager 
social crusaders, it is still more clearly demonstrated that the 
methods of violence offer infinitely less of permanent good. 
But in the processes of democratic and progressive govern- 
ment, the excellencies of all of these, as has been shown, are 
blended, along with some of their evils which it may be en- 
tirely possible to eliminate. Therefore, in so far as the cause 
of the masses of disinherited men makes lasting headway, we 
cannot but believe that it will turn of necessity toward the 
state as the one supreme adjuster of all conflicting interests, 
and as the only agency wherein the social gains of to-day may 
be permanently funded for the needs of to-morrow. 

In magnifying the state as the supreme agency of social self- 
direction we are in no sense concerned with the advocacy of 
any abstract theory of sovereignty, or the exaltation of politi- 
cal authority for its own sake. "Sovereignty," as Professor 
Giddings forcibly phrases it, "is never under any circumstances 
the absolute power to compel obedience babbled of in political 
metaphysics. It is finite and conditioned." 15 

In holding to this non-occult and thoroughly utilitarian view 
of the state and politics, the present argument is not impaired 
by the new conception of political authority advanced by plu- 

15 F. H. Giddings, Studies in the Theory of Human Society 
(New York: MacmiLlan, 1922), p. 276. 


ralistic thinkers. 16 Social reconstruction through the agency of 
the truly democratic state offers the one method which does 
not lure men to grasp more than they can hope to hold; conse- 
quently, if they reject political methods in the outset they will 
inevitably return to them in the end. . . . When a nation has 
once reached the stage of constitutional liberty and adult suf- 
frage no short cut to social amelioration, through the exercise 
of physical force in any form whatsoever, can thenceforth be 
looked for; since beyond the point where real political free- 
dom is reached the road of social progress lies straight, though 
long perhaps, through moral territory controlled by the state 
and the appropriate political procedure. Professor Small puts 
it well when he says: "The modern state is both a political 
organization and an economic system, but it is much more. 
The State is a microcosm of the whole human process. The 
State is the cooperation of the citizens for the furtherance of 
all the interests of which they are conscious." 17 

Yet it must be confessed that, while we argue in theory for 
social progress by political methods, we witness too often in 
practice merely a political gesture; while the dynamic eco- 
nomic and social forces, after more or less of disappointment 
and delay, continue their immemorial way of cutting directly 
across lots to the destined goal, but always at the expense of 
enormous suffering, disorder, and waste. One need not, how- 
ever, embrace Mr. Herbert Spencer's gospel of social de- 
spair, 18 but must at least admit that the ultimate and complete 
success of the legislative and political method will have to wait 
upon the social and political enlightenment of the voters, and 
that methods of non-violent coercion seem capable of really 
constructive social usefulness in the meantime, if used in that 
open, truth-asserting spirit of fair play and long-suffering forti- 
tude which we have seen to be the hall-mark of non-violent 
resistance. Perhaps it is only through a working partnership of 
such seemingly incongruous forms of behavior as non-violence 
and coercion that the problems of social collision can be per- 
manently solved. For the solution must be twofold in charac- 
ter, avoiding the devastating furies of violence and terrorism 
on the one hand, and the stagnant and deadening unanimity 
sought by insipid sentimentalism upon the other. 

16 Authority in the Modern State, by Harold J. Laski (Yale Uni- 
versity Press, 1919); The New State, by Mary Parker Follett (New 
York: Longmans, 1920). 

17 General Sociology, by Albion W. Small (University of Chi- 
cago Press, 1905), p. 226. 

18 Op. cit., particularly the essays on "The Sins of Legislators" 
and "The Limits of State Duty." 


To social coercion, therefore, the last words are devoted at 
the end of this investigation. As used in this study it stands 
between private coercion on the one hand and public, i.e., 
governmental or political, coercion on the other. It is called 
social because its enforcing sanctions are neither in the per- 
sonal use of force nor the appeal to formally constituted po- 
litical authority . . . but to the concerted manipulation of the 
ordinary social relations of daily life. 

8. Richard Gregg: 

Richard Gregg is one of the great twentieth-century formu- 
lators of the theory of non-violent resistance. In this reading 
he analyzes two of its fundamental themes: the relation of 
non-violence to political institutions and the possibilities of 
non-violent resistance as an effective substitute for war. 

His discussion ranges over such complex questions as the 
commitment to truth and frankness in diplomatic relations 
(where we are reminded of William Godwin), foreign wars 
as a symptom of violent discord within a State, theories of 
non-violence in relation to crime, punishment and treatment 
of the mentally ill, and the nature of the protests of those often 
regarded as deviants. 

Most of these issues require little preliminary comment. 
However, brief observations on mental illness, police work, 
crime, and the role of law may help underline Gregg's points. 

/'""Psychiatrists and sociologists in recent years have come to 
stress the role of the "self-fulfilling prophecy" in relations 
among individuals and groups. 1 Others, that is to say, tend 
often to act with reference to us according to the "image" we 
> have of them. If we treat them as mere beasts, they will tend 
to become like beasts, even though originally they may have 
had little of the beastly about them. Thus if we expect mental 
patients to be violent and treat them as if violence were in- 
evitable, they are likely to measure up to our expectations. 
On the other hand, if we create an atmosphere in which we 
assume their non-violence, they will respond accordingly. The 
director of a mental hospital ward experimented several years 
ago exactly along these lines. Over a period of about ten 
months, he sought deliberately to create the expectation among 
both staff and patients that the latter would be self-controlled. 

1 For a sociological discussion see Robert K. Merton. Social The- 
ory and Social Structure (Chicaqo: The Free Press of Glencoe, 


Of some one thousand patients admitted, not a single one had 
to be restrained physically. 2 

The principle of the self-fulfilling prophecy is probably also 
involved (at least in part) in unarmed police work. Many 
Americans seem to hold that a policeman without arms is not 
really a policeman. Our Western movie thrillers appear to 
strengthen this belief. Yet perhaps the most successful police 
system in the world has for the most part deliberately re- 
jected arms, despite the fact that when it was established Lon- 
don criminals were notoriously violent. The most effective po- 
lice work is preventive and not repressive. We might well ask 
ourselves how this discussion relates to the much-discussed 
problem of a world police. 

As for the prison system and its severe restraints, the writer 
was once told by the warden of a leading state penitentiary 
that an adequate probation system would enable him to dis- 
charge "about 90 per cent" of his one thousand prisoners. 

The image of law typically held by many has been that law 
is a command of the government and gains its authority 
thereby. Associated with this view has been the idea that law is 
chiefly sanctioned by what some have called the State's "mo- 
nopoly of violence." Many thinkers have challenged positions 
of this kind, relating their criticisms to natural law, to "con- 
sensual," and to pluralist schools of thought. 3 

In the second division of the reading, Gregg maintains that 
non-violent resistance evokes the same virtues called forth by 
war, while avoiding the viciousness inseparably connected with 
it. Moreover, non-violence is far more effective than war in 
attaining just goals. 

Born in 1885, Gregg trained to be a lawyer. While acting 
as arbitrator in labor disputes he became acquainted with 
Gandhi's life and thought. His own experiences in social con- 
flict corroborated all that Gandhi had said about the futility 
and cost of violence. In The Power of Non-Violence (origi- 

2 See Harry A. Willmer, "Toward a Definition of the Therapeu- 
tic Community," American Journal of Psychiatry (1958), Vol. 114, 
pp. 824-34. 

3 For discussions of some basic problems of legal thought, see 
Fritz Berolzheimer, The World's Legal Philosophies, tr. by Ra- 
chel S. Jastrow (New York: Macmillan, 1912); Leon Duguit, Law 
in the Modern State, tr. by Frida and Harold Laski (New York: 
Viking Press, 1919); and Morris R. Cohen, Law and the Social Or- 
der (New York: Harcourt, 1933). 


nally published, 1934; second revised edition Nyack, New 
York: Fellowship Publications, 1959), he explored the social, 
ethical, and psychological foundations of non-violence. The 
section reprinted here is from Chapters VII and VIII of that 


Non-violent resistance is the key to the problem of liberty in 
the modern State. That seems like a large claim until we begin 
to reflect upon the part which force and compulsion play in 
all the relationships in which the State takes part. 

All observers recognise that compulsion, intimidation and 
violence have been and still are a very large and perhaps pre- 
dominating element in the State, and especially in political 
government. 4 If anyone felt inclined to dispute the scholars on 
this point, let him examine the figures snowing that the ex- 
penditures for past and future wars form a very high percent- 
age of the total expenditures of the governments of the ma- 
jority of nations. To this he should add the State expenditures 
for prisons, the administration of criminal law and a certain 
part of the administration of civil law. The State has many 
fine elements, but they perhaps do not counterbalance the 
large part played by force and compulsion. 

This condition of affairs is due not to a particular ruling 
class, as the Communists would have us believe, but to an 
inner psychological attitude which prevails through all groups 
and classes in the so-called "civilised" world. The Marxians 
say that political forms and methods are determined entirely 
by economic forces. We would say that both political and 
economic processes, at least in relation to violence and coer- 
cion, are due to still deeper psychological factors. The amount 
of coercion and violence in the State is a reflection or resultant 
of a similar tendency and attitude in all our life and activities, 
both individual and associative. 

The non-violent resister believes that a large part of the ac- 
tivities of the State are founded upon a mistake, namely, the 
idea that fear is the strongest and best sanction for group ac- 
tion and association. He believes that fear is divisive and there- 
fore cannot be the foundation for permanent unity and 

4 See Randolph Bourne, "The State," in Untimely Papers (New 
York: Viking Press, 1919); L. P. Jacks, "The Insane Root: War 
and the State," Atlantic Monthly, January 1917; Reinhold Nie- 
buhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society (New York: Scribner, 
1932); Sigmund Freud, Reflections on War and Death (New York: 
Moffat Yard, 1918); and various writings of John Dewey, Admiral 
A. T. Mahan, Leo Tolstoy, and Thorstein Veblen. 


strength. He believes that in the family and in education it has 
now been realised that fear is not a sound basis for action. 
There we find substituted the more positive and growth-stimu- 
lating forces of intellectual curiosity, wonder, love and co- 
operation. The non-violent resister looks forward to a time 
when a similar realisation will come in regard to the larger as- 
sociations of States. He believes that non-violent resistance will 
probably be an important means in reaching this realisation. 

The principles of non-violent resistance can be applied to 
diplomacy as well as war, for the two are closely allied. Com- 
pared with war, non-violent resistance is a safer and more ef- 
fective instrument of policy. By its use the entire military and 
naval expenses of all nations can be eliminated. 

In so far as diplomacy has been characterised by secrecy and 
deceit, the principle of truth involved in non-violent resistance 
will bring about reform. Secrecy and deceit are signs of fear, 
but non-violent resistance proceeds upon the basis of control 
and eventual elimination of fear. It insists on truth and open- 
ness in all dealings. Gandhi's practice is a living embodiment of 
this principle. 

Non-violent resistance can be used internationally, with or 
/without economic boycott as circumstances require. Causes 
that some people think cannot be submitted to arbitration may 
be handled by such means. Mere nonresistance will not do. 
There must be constructive resistance. The Indian Non-Co- 
operative Movement in 1922 gave an example which was 

Attempts to improve international relations absorb the time, 
energy and money of many people. While I admire the de- 
votion shown, most of it seems to me to be wasted because it 
deals with symptoms instead of the root of the trouble. It is like 
putting poultices on a cancer. War is an institution, and institu- 
tions are external expressions of previous inner attitudes and 
ways of thinking. 5 To try merely to alter the institution is like 

5 The great Indian philosopher, Aurobindo Ghose (1872-1950), 
writes: "So long as war does not become psychologically impos- 
sible, it will remain, or, if banished, for a while, return. . . . Only 
when man has developed not merely a fellow-feeling with all men, 
but a dominant sense of unity and commonalty, only when he is 
aware of them not merely as brothers— that is a fragile bond— but in 
a large universal consciousness, can the phenomenon of war, with 
whatever weapons, pass out of his life without the possibility of re- 
turn." War and Self-determination (Calcutta: S. Ghose, 1922). 

This opinion is in substance echoed by Bertrand Russell: "The 
supposed economic causes of war, except in the case of certain 


locking the stable door after the horse is stolen. Even the Mo- 
saic commandment "Thou shalt not kill" begins psychologi- 
cally at the wrong end of the problem. 

World courts, leagues of nations, peace pacts and peace con- 
gresses do little toward improving the inner attitudes or 
psychological dispositions and habits of mind. Too many 
peacemakers work only on externals, and disregard deep- 
seated inconsistencies and forces working for war in many 
parts of the economic, social, educational and organised re- 
ligious systems. To say this is not to oppose their effort, but 
only to wish that it might be more efficient. 

Inasmuch as peacemakers need to be especially sensitive to 
the truth, it seems desirable to present here two criticisms of 
their activity, for them to ponder. One was well phrased by 

". . . The implication is that England and America are the 
only two really solvent nations in the Western World, and that, 
since they have what they want and need, it is to their interest 
to preach peace. The hungry nations will meanwhile fail to re- 
act to this moral idealism. They will shrewdly and cynically ob- 
serve that it is always the tendency of those who have to extol 
the virtue of peace and order and to place those who have not 
at a moral disadvantage. 

"It is quite impossible for the strong to be redemptive in their 
relation to the weak if they are not willing to share the weak- 
ness of the weak, or at least to equalise in some degree the 
disproportion of advantages." 6 

[Trotsky] said that "a responsible function is allotted to 
pacifism in the economy of warfare." 7 By this he refers to the 

capitalistic enterprises, are in the nature of a rationalization; people 
wish to fight, and they therefore persuade themselves that it is to 
their interest to do so. The important question, then, is the psycho- 
logical one— "Why do people wish to fight?" And this leads on from 
war to a host of other questions concerning impulses to cruelty 
and oppression in general. These questions in their turn involve a 
study of the origins of the malevolent passions, and thence of psy- 
choanalysis and the theory of education. . . . 

"The basis of international anarchy is man's proneness to fear 
and hatred. This is also the basis of economic disputes; for the love 
of power, which is at their root, is generally an embodiment of 
fear." "What I Believe," The Forum (New York), September 1929. 

c Reinhold Niebuhr, "A Critique of Pacifism," Atlantic Monthly, 
May 1927, reprinted in Reinhold Niebuhr, Love and Justice, ed. by 
D. B. Robertson (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1957). 

7 Leon Trotsky, "Democracy, Pacifism and Imperialism," in N. 


pacifists who go around talking about "our sacred duty to do 
all in our power to preserve the nation from the horrors of 
war," yet always carefully adding, "If war should come, we 
will all support the government, of course." Trotsky proceeds 
[in incisive criticism]: 

" 'To do everything in our power against the war,' means to 
afford the voice of popular indignation an outlet in the form 
of harmless demonstration, after having previously given the 
government a guarantee that it will meet with no serious op- 
position, in the case of war, from the pacifist faction." 

It is easy to see how that type of pacifism helps to rally the 
entire country to the support of militarists at the time they most 
need it. They are glad to let such pacifists throw a gentle moral 
glow over affairs before war and then fill themselves and the 
masses with moral fervour in support of war as soon as it 

International peace requires the development of a world 
community. 8 The mood of mutual tolerance, respect and good 
will needed for the establishment and operation of such a com- 
munity will best be created, in social practice, by the use of 
non-violent resistance for the righting of existing wrongs. 

One weakness of most peace proposals is that they all expect 
the action to be taken by governments or large organisations, 
or at least someone other than the proponent. The advantage 
of non-violent resistance is that it begins at home and can and 
needs to be practised in ah the small private relations between 
people as a preparation for and accompaniment of its use on 
a large scale. Nobody can dodge the responsibility for its suc- 
cess. The poorest and most insignificant can practise it as finely, 
successfully and usefully as prime ministers, presidents, finan- 
ciers, labour leaders or other powerful persons. Through non- 
violent resistance we can reach an active, reasoned belief in 
peace which is capable of continuous practice in all grades of 
life and all sorts of conflict, so as to educate everyone into a 
conviction that it gives better results, more efficiently, than vio- 

Lenin and L. Trotsky, The Proletarian Revolution in Russia, ed. by 
L. Fraina (New York: The Communist Press, 1918), p. 196 f. 

8 Salvador de Madariaga, Disarmament (New York: Coward- 
McCann, 1929), pp. 42, 45, 48, 56, 61, 198. But this need not mean 
a super-State with supremely powerful armed forces. As soon as 
one nation organizes itself for non-violent resistance and wins an 
international struggle by those tactics, there will be imitators, and 
our present international relationships will change completely. 


The causes of disagreement and conflict between nations are 
legion, and need not be discussed here. Yet there is one group 
of causes so very important at present that it may not be out of 
place to consider it briefly. This is the economic and political 
relationship between nations of the temperate zone and those 
of the tropics, together with the international jealousies result- 
ing therefrom between nations of the former group. . . . 
Modern industrialism and much commerce are inherently ex- 
ploitative and violent in spirit. ... A large amount of self- 
dependence for the essential necessities of national life is the 
economic basis of national self-respect, mutual international 
self-respect and a preventative of economic parasitism. Be- 
yond and above that, let trade proceed as merrily as it can, 
but with a minimum of exploitation. 

Let us now consider the internal relationships of the State., 

The upholders of the State sometimes assert that non-violent 
resistance to the State or to a specific law is not only unlawful 
but promotive of anarchy. But democracy is a valid form of 
government and social order, and democracy is founded on 
the consent of the governed. The theory of democracy does not 
assert that that consent or refusal must or can be evidenced 
only by marks on pieces of paper, the ballot. Refusal of con- 
sent may be democratically evidenced by action, by non-violent 
resistance together with willingness to go to jail for violation of 
the law. This form of resistance, together with suffering the 
penalty, is a mode of persuasion, an appeal to the moral sensi- 
tiveness of the governors and the people. Persuasion is also a 
part of the democratic process. — 

The group within each state toward which the state uses 
compulsory force most constantly is that of the criminals. It is 
therefore interesting to find that the attitude and methods of 
non-violent resistance are the conclusions toward which all the 
experience of penology and the investigations of psychiatrists, 
criminologists and social reformers are steadily tending. 

If there is ever any reform after forceful punishment or im- 
prisonment, it is not caused by the force or even the suffering. 
The change depends upon the reaction of the suffering person, 
and cannot take place unless there is stimulus to some latent 
or potential goodness in the criminal. Intelligent kindness is a 

°See Curtis Bok, Star Wormwood (New York: Knopf. 1959); 
Alfred Hassler, Diary of a Self -made Convict (Nyack. New York: 
Fellowship. 1958); Giles Playfair and Derrick Sington. The Of- 
fenders (New York: Simon & Schuster. 1957); Arthur Koestler. Re- 
flections on Hanging (New York: Macmillan. 1957); G. M. Sykes, 
The Society of Captives (Princeton University Press, 1958). 


far more effective stimulus than any force can be. If force 
were the true cause of rehabilitation, its efficacy would in- 
crease with repetition. But all experience shows that a repeti- 
tion of force merely hardens the prisoner and stimulates a de- 
sire for revenge. 

Violence and severe punishment have proved unavailing for 
thousands of years. The facts compel us to admit that cruel 
punishment is not only ineffective but is injurious to prison 
wardens and guards and to society as well as to the criminal. 
Also we now know that society is itself responsible for many 
of the conditions that create criminals. Non-violent, loving, cur- 
ative methods are the only ones that work or can possibly 
work. This means careful psychiatric examinations and psychi- 
atric treatment; remedial diet; 10 medical care if need be; train- 
ing in a useful craft or occupation; wise general education, 
good food, good quarters; decent, kindly, respectful treatment; 
many sorts of stimuli and opportunities for normal expression 
and living; wise probation; good juvenile and delinquent courts. 
The criminal courts should have only the function of deciding 
whether or not the crime has been committed and the acces- 
sory facts. They should have no power of punishment. There- 
after the case should be handled by physicians, psychiatrists, 
psychologists, social workers, teachers, and employment agen- 
cies. The object should be not to make good prisoners but to 
make criminals into good citizens. 

When really sound treatment is given the criminals and when 
society steps forward in its own reform, the prison population 
will greatly decrease. Even the feebleminded and insane are 
capable of great improvement by proper treatment. 

:fc $i :jc :»: % 

Carefully worked-out information codified into rules and 
made a subject of intelligent instruction would be of immense 
assistance to prisons, houses of correction, reform schools, hos- 
pitals, mental hospitals, private nurses, policemen and physi- 
cians. But before these can be put into effect, a majority of 
citizens must give up their belief in and desire for punishment 
and revenge and the idea that the threat of violent punishment 
is an effective deterrent to crime. 

:■: >Jc ^c ;jc ^4 

Violent defense against thieves and burglars arises out of 
our ideas about property and the true nature of the self. Most 

10 See Henry A. Cotton, The Defective, Delinquent and Insane, 
in Dr. Cotton's 1953 report as Medical Director and Director of Re- 
search of the New Jersey State Hospital. 


killings by thieves and other criminals are not strictly "in cold 
blood," but out of fear that the victim will somehow harm the 
criminal. If the threatened victim is wholly unafraid, friendly, 
kind, generous and imaginative, there is relatively small chance 
of his receiving physical injury. 11 

Such considerations indicate that it will be eventually possi- 
ble and practicable to forego violent defense of property. It is 
a part of the duty of non-violent resisters to help bring about 
such a state of affairs. It will be for mankind as a whole a slow 
process, but there is no reason why the progress should not be 
steady and sometimes, and in some places, rapid. 

It is interesting to realize that non-violent resistance can be 
used both by the state and the prisoners. If the state considers 
itself the injured party and the criminal the attacker, it can of- 
fer him non-violent reformatory treatment. If the criminal is 
mentally competent and feels that really he is the victim of an 
unjust social system and brutal wardens and police, he too may 
offer non-violent resistance and do his share toward prison re- 
form. . . . 

In some instances where innocent men have been sentenced 
to long imprisonments and even death, there has been much 
severe criticism directed against the governors, judges and 
other officials involved. This seems to me a waste of energy 
based on a misconception of the real forces at work. The fault 
does not lie with the men in office. The real causes are psy- 
chological and spiritual, and it is these and this institutionalized 
form that must be resisted and transformed. Governments are 
the external results of inner concepts and attitudes. They are 
the institutionalized forms of our habitual inner attitudes and 
ideas. Each one of us is partly responsible. The re-education 
must be directed primarily at this foundation, though, of 
course, it should find expression in all situations and relation- 

The police system also needs constant modification in the 
direction of less violence. Certain police functions are neces- 
sary in any complex modern society— such as directing traffic 
in city streets, providing information for strangers, helping to 
settle altercations without violence, helping lost children, di- 
recting large crowds, providing a disciplined orderly nucleus 
of leaders and helpers in times of public disaster such as fires, 
floods, earthquakes, severe storms, epidemics of disease, etc. 
Even after the advantages of non-violence become widely rec- 
ognized, there will still be people whose habits of violence 
persist, whose self-control is poor, or who will still occasionally 

11 See Allan A. Hunter, Courage in Both Hands (New York: 
Fellowship, 1951) and Three Trumpets Sound (New York: Asso- 
ciation Press, 1939). 


hope to gain their ends by violence. For a generation or two 
after such recognition, it may be necessary to permit the police 
to use a greatly restricted amount of physical compulsion in 
certain cases where physical violence has already been used or 
overtly threatened by some other person. Long experience in 
England indicates that under such circumstances probably no 
firearms, sticks or brutality would be needed. . . . 


Despite the horrors, futilities and destructiveness of war, 
there are nevertheless certain virtues and truths associated with 
it which humanity cannot afford to lose. In any discussion of 
new ways of settling conflicts, these military virtues cannot 
safely be disregarded. 

Before the First World War, the romance and glamor of 
war was an undoubted fact, especially for those who never 
had taken part in war. The two world wars have destroyed all 
the glamor. Yet there is in all hearts a desire to live a signifi- 
cant life, to serve a great idea and sacrifice oneself for a noble 
cause, to feel the thrill of spiritual unity with one's fellows and 
to act in accordance therewith. We all wish for strenuous ac- 
tion and the exercise of courage and fortitude, to be carried 
away by the enthusiasm of daring. We all love to undergo a 
common discipline and hardship for the sake of a fine ideal; to 
be in good effective order; to be strong, generous and self-re- 
liant; to be physically fit, with body, mind and soul harmoni- 
ously working together for a great purpose, thus becoming a 
channel of immense energies. Under such conditions, the 
whole personality is alert, conscious, unified and living pro- 
foundly, richly and exaltedly. Then one can be truly and glori- 
ously happy. Martial music suggests many of these elements 
and their consequent exhilaration and exaltation. 

Probably war and conflict seem to promise such results 
partly because our ordinary life of alleged peace is so often 
dull, trivial, monotonous and devoid of fine purpose. It is so 
full of frustration, resentments, balked disposition, hidden vio- 
lence, oppression, pettiness and meanness; so insipid, fragmen- 
tary, full of cross-purposes and evil. 

"Such a hopeless snarl, Anything to be relieved of such a 
mess!" So cries the heart. Yet what a risk, to wrench our- 
selves from established life. 

One reason why we take such deep delight in risk attending 
the search for this release is that such adventures may turn pos- 
sibilities into accomplished facts. They are modes of creation, 
of "free activity of the soul," as Clausewitz says. Hence, after 
men have long been chained to an industrial routine, feeling 


themselves helpless cogs in a vast machine, the call of an im- 
measurable risk cannot easily be resisted. But war is attractive 
not merely for its orderly action and sense of unity for a great 
purpose; it also has solid elements of truth and virtue. 

The most outstanding virtue of violence is that of courage. 
But violence is not the only occasion for test or proof of cour- 

Another virtue is energy. All the deep emotions, especially 
fear and anger, are generators of tremendous energy. To be a 
channel of immense energy gives one a thrill and a satisfaction 
that can never be forgotten. Fear, anger and hatred are doubt- 
less evil, but the energy that they arouse is, by itself, good; for 
as William BlaJce said, energy is divine. 

Furthermore, the sincerity of many fighters and warriors is 
admirable. They live and work, sacrifice and die for their vi- 
sion of the truth, even though they may be too inarticulate to 
express it in words. . . . 

Another virtue of the militarists which deserves our admira- 
tion is discipline. Discipline establishes and maintains effective 
habits, creates solidarity and reliability, promotes self-respect 
and elicits respect from others. 

The militarist is right when he says that conflict is an inevi- 
table part of life. This world is inherently diverse and chang- 
ing, and since human beings differ so much in the values they 
hold, in environment, inheritance, intelligence, tolerance and 
unselfishness, and are so bound by tradition and habit, the ad- 
justments involved in change and growth necessarily result in 
conflicts. No strong or sensible person would want to abolish 
growth or change or the positive achievements that often issue 
from struggle. Struggle is a part of the very meaning of life. 

These, then, seem to be the important virtues of the violent 
fighter: enterprise, courage, strenuous action, and endurance; 
sincerity, devotion and a sense of unity with one's own kind; or- 
der, training and discipline. His truth that conflict is inevitable 
is another element of his strength. 

All these virtues and truths of war are given full scope and 
exercise in the non-violent method of settling great disputes. If 
any nation or group adopts mass non-violent resistance, no 
moral losses will result. 

Walter Lippmann, in an excellent article on "The Political 
Equivalent of War," quotes from William James' essay, "The 
Moral Equivalent of War," 1 - and continues: 

12 In William James, Memories and Studies (New York: Long- 
mans, 1911). An abridgement of the essay is more conveniently 
available in Living Ideas in America, ed. by Henry Steele Com- 
mager, (New York: Harper, 1951). 


"It is not sufficient to propose an equivalent for the mil- 
itary virtues. It is even more important to work out an 
equivalent for the military methods and objectives. For 
the institution of war is not merely an expression of the 
military spirit. It is not a mere release of certain subjec- 
tive impulses clamoring for expression. It is also— and, I 
think, primarily— one of the ways by which great human 
decisions are made. If that is true, then the abolition of 
war depends primarily upon inventing and organizing 
other ways of deciding those issues which hitherto have 
been decided by war. . . . 

"Any real program of peace must rest on the premise 
that there will be causes of dispute as long as we can fore- 
see, and that those disputes have to be decided, and that a 
way of deciding them must be found which is not war." 13 

"A way of deciding them which is not war." Is that way 
non-violent resistance? Closer examination shows that it satis- 
fies Lippmann's requirements. Non-violent resistance not only 
utilizes the military virtues; it uses also on a moral plane many 
of the military methods and principles; it employs many of the 
same psychological processes; and it even retains some of the 
military objectives, with moral modifications. Military men 
know much about human nature, but non-violent resisters 
know still more. If war has been in the past a practical method 
of making great human decisions, of settling great disputes, 
this new method will be still more effective for such a purpose. 

The very principles of military strategy operate in this new 
mode of struggle. 

Clausewitz's principles of war have been summarized by a 
British writer as follows: 

"Retaining the initiative, using the defensive as the de- 
cisive form of action, concentration of force at the de- 
cisive point, the determination of that point, the supe- 
riority of the moral factor to purely material resources, 
the proper relation between attack and defense, and the 
will to victory. 14 

Other authorities state them somewhat differently, Foch, for 
instance, laying more stress on the offensive. 

We have seen that the non-violent resister begins an entirely 
new line of conduct. He seizes and maintains the moral initia- 
tive. He uses the principle of surprise most effectively. Clause- 

13 Walter Lippmann, "The Political Equivalent of War," in the 
Atlantic Monthly, August 1928, p. 181 f. 

14 A. A. Walser, "Air Power," in The Nineteenth Century and 
After (London), April 1923, p. 598. 


witz said: "surprise plays a much greater part in strategy than 
in tactics; it is the most powerful element of victory," 1 "' and a 
long line of military authorities agree. 

The surprise of non-violent resistance is effective partly be- 
cause it is startling and partly because the opponent is so bound 
by his violent habits that he is ill-prepared to utilize the new 
tactics himself. He is like a wrestler using European methods 
pitted against a Japanese using jiu-jitsu. The surprise of non- 
violent resistance, unlike that of war, is not due to deceit or 
stratagem but simply to its novelty and daring. 

. . . Non-violent resistance is not directed against the energy 
of the opponent's desires but merely against their immediate 
direction, form or method. It seeks to discover for him a new 
and wiser channel for his energy. ^ 

This does not mean reducing the conflict to a tame debating 
society. Although sometimes a safe and easy issue of the con- 
flict may be found, the non-violent resister may feel assured of 
a fair probability that he will sooner or later have to suffer 
hardships and perhaps wounds, imprisonment and even death. 
If the struggle is against a powerful group, a corporation, a 
government or an established system of socio-economic beliefs, 
and is prolonged, the resisters may have to suffer a great deal. 
"War is hell," and in a long struggle soldiers and police may 
abandon all restraints. We assume that the peaceful resister is 
really in earnest, really believes in his cause, is ready to sacri- 
fice for it, and is no more a coward than any soldier is. He 
must take risks. This is a real adventure, no parlor make-be- 
lieve for pretenders or boasters. """""7 

But psychologically, non-violent resistance differs in one re- 
spect from war. The object is not to make the opponent be- 
lieve that he is crushed, but to persuade him to realize that he 
can attain practical security, or whatever else his ultimate de- 
sire may be, by easier and surer means than he saw formerly. 
The effort is furthermore to help him work out such new 
means, not rigidly or on any a priori plan, but flexibly in ac- 
cordance with the deepest growing truth of the entire situation 
in all its bearings. Non-violence does not destroy the opponent's 
courage, but merely alters his belief that his will and desire 
must be satisfied only in his way. Thus he is led to see the situ- 
ation in a broader, more fundamental and far-sighted way, so 
as to work out a solution which will more nearly satisfy both 
parties in the light of a new set of conditions. 

15 Karl von Clausewitz, On War, tr. by Col J. J. Graham (New 
York: Dutton, 1914), Vol. 3, p. 210. See also B. H. Liddell Hart, 
The Real War, 1914-1918 (Boston: Little, 1930), p. 446. 


Does the non-violent resister "concentrate his force at the 
decisive point," and is he active in "the determination of that 
point"? He certainly is. He decides, with Marshal Saxe, that 
"the secret of victory lies in the hearts of human beings"— 
that is, that it is a matter of psychology. Therefore he concen- 
trates upon the psychological forces in the situation, and deals 
with them as efficiently and powerfully as he possibly can. And 
in so far as concentration means bringing strength to bear 
against weakness, he does that also, for in this moral or psy- 
chological field he is far stronger and better prepared than his 

"The proper relation between attack and defense" has been 
very searchingly considered by the peaceful resister. He knows 
that the best relation of all between these two energies is not 
one of opposition but of resolution, integration and sublima- 
tion. He thus enables both sides to win, and conquers both his 
own possible short-sightedness of aim and that of his enemy 
at the same time. The result is not a triumphant victor on the 
one side and a despondent, repressed vanquished on the other. 
Both sides are happy in the joint victory of their better selves 
and the common defeat of their mistakes. 

Does the peaceful resister have the "will to conquer" which 
Foch calls "the first condition of victory"? 16 He surely does. 
Indeed, he must have an indomitable will to victory in order 
to endure the suffering put upon him. . . . 

There are other principles of strategy which also find paral- 
lels here— such principles as the economy of forces, the im- 
portance of information, mobility, endurance, etc.— but we 
need not discuss all of these. The similarities to the principles 
of military strategy are clear. 

But the similarities between war and non-violent resistance 
are not merely an interesting set of analogies. This entire chap- 
ter up to this point answers two doubts: namely, whether this 
method of struggle is not utterly foreign and new and suited 
only to Oriental peoples, and therefore whether it could be 
adopted by people with the modern Western attitude of mind. 
The facts that the military virtues are used and needed in this 
new form of struggle, and that the principles of military strat- 
egy apply here too, show that if we adopt this new mode of 
settling conflicts we will not be entirely reversing our previous 
experience, nor abandoning whatever true principles and val- 

16 Marshal Foch, Principles of War (New York: H. K. Fly, 
1918), p. 316. 


ues the human race may have garnered from its age-long ex- 
perience of war. 

In cases where Asians and Africans have tried to relieve 
themselves of the economic and military pressure of European 
domination, they have complained that the West cannot under- 
stand any language but that of force. If that is true, it means 
that the West will be utterly unprepared and helpless in the 
face of well-disciplined, thoroughly organized and wisely led 
non-violent resistance, especially if it is accompanied by an 
equally thorough temporary non-vindictive economic boycott. 
The strategic principle of surprise would operate most dramat- 
ically and effectively. . . . But I am inclined to think that the 
West will come to understand the new language fairly soon, 
once it is shown to be strong language. Already there is a 
partial understanding of the new language, and considerable 
worry to boot. The grant of freedom to Ghana by the British 
government is one instance of this. 

If, in some future conflict, both sides should use non-violent 
resistance, that side would win which most deeply understood 
and was best disciplined and prepared in this new method. That 
would be the side which achieved the most self-purification, 
which attained the most social truth and showed the finest 
love. It would thereby attain the greater inner unity and 
strength, the greater respect from its opponents and the public. 

In summary, we see that non-violent resistance resembles 
war in these eight ways: (1) It has a psychological and moral 
aim and effect. (2) It is a discipline of a parallel emotion and 
instinct. (3) It operates against the morale of the opponents. 
(4) It is similar in principles of strategy. (5) It is a method of 
settling great disputes and conflicts. (6) It requires courage, 
dynamic energy, capacity to endure fatigue and suffering, self- 
sacrifice, self-control, chivalry, action. (7) It is positive and 
powerful. (8) It affords an opportunity of service for a large 
idea, and for glory. 

It does not avoid hardships, suffering, wounds or even death. 
In using it men and women may still risk their lives and for- 
tunes and sacrifice all. Nevertheless, the possibilities of casual- 
ties and death are greatly reduced under it, and they are all 
suffered voluntarily and not imposed by the non-violent re- 

In the Indian struggle for independence, though I know of 
no accurate statistics, hundreds of thousands of Indians went 
to jail, probably not more than five hundred received perma- 
nent physical injuries, and probably not over eight thousand 


were killed immediately or died later from wounds. No British, 
I believe, were killed or wounded. Considering the importance 
and size of the conflict and the many years it lasted, these num- 
bers are much smaller than they would have been if the Indians 
had used violence toward the British. 

Considering the completeness of its effects, non-violent re- 
sistance is as quick and probably quicker than war. It is a 
weapon that can be used equally well by small or large nations 
or groups, by the economically weak and by the apparently 
strong, and even by individuals. It compels both sides and neu- 
trals to seek the truth, whereas war blinds both sides and neu- 
trals to the truth. 

As we have already seen and will show further, non-violent 
resistance certainly produces less ill-effects, if any, than war 
does, and this decrease of ill-effects applies to the users of non- 
violence, to the opposing side, and to society and the world at 

It is interesting to note that in early 1958 there was published 
a book by a British naval officer (not a pacifist), Commander 
Sir Stephen King-Hall, in which he argues that non-violent re- 
sistance is now the best and only possible successful mode of 
defense of Great Britain against armed attack. He argues the 
points in detail and cogently: "We must," he says, "ask our- 
selves this question: 'If the contribution of violence (i.e., mili- 
tary operations) to the settlement of differences of opinion or 
conflicts (werre) between sovereign states has evolved to such 
intensity that it is totally destructive, has not violence outlived 
its usefulness in disputes between large states?' It looks to me 
as if this is the truth. Bearing in mind that in major disputes 
violence has become equated with nuclear energy violence, I 
am forced to consider What possibilities are open to us if we 
exclude violence from our defense plans on the grounds that— 
violence has become our master instead of our slave." 17 Many 
other keen thinkers all through the West agree that nuclear ! 
weapons have destroyed the effectiveness of war as a means to 
settle large disputes between nations. """" 

May we not then fairly describe non-violent resistance as an 
effective substitute for war? 

It is realistic in that it does not eliminate or attempt to elim- 
inate possibilities of conflict and differences of interest, and in- 
cludes all factors in the situation— both material and imponder- 
able, physical and psychological. 

17 Defense in the Nuclear Age (London: Gollancz), p. 110. 



In Part I, we were concerned primarily with conceptions 
of violence, non-violence, and non-violent struggle. 

The readings in Part II center primarily on instances of 
non-violent resistance largely unguided by previously thought- 
out doctrines. In considerable degree, that is to say, the read- 
ings in this Part provide case studies in what might be called 
non-violent resistance for want of other methods. It has often 
been observed that when groups or nations are unarmed and 
yet feel that they are suffering injustice of some kind they turn 
to non-violent struggle. They may have no exponent of a 
philosophy of non-violence to provide standards and no pre- 
viously disciplined groups of resisters. Yet the sense of in- 
justice is so strong and the awareness of military helplessness 
so great that they almost instinctively adopt many of the 
strategies and tactics that theorists of non-violence have 
worked out. 

The first selection in this Part is a review by Barthelemy de 
Ligt of the effectiveness of non-violent struggle in general. In 
his survey, he includes illustrations both of "spontaneous" non- 
violent struggle (as in our Part II) and of what might be 
termed principled non-violence (our Part III). De Ligt was 
himself firmly convinced that, at least under modern circum- 
stances, non-violent resistance was the only form of group 
struggle that gave promise of resolving conflicts and preserv- 
ing the contestants' legitimate claims. 

The other readings in Part II serve to illustrate the wide 
variety of circumstances under which some form of more or 
less spontaneous non-violent struggle has been used. Reading 
10 suggests that it was responsible for one of the greatest 
political changes in the history of the ancient Roman Re- 
public. Reading 1 1 tells of the non-violent demonstration of 
the Jews against the armed might of Rome in the days of the 
Emperor Caligula. Reading 12 summarizes a few significant 
general strikes: although most of them were only partially 
"successful" (depending, of course, on how one defines that 
term), all of them were important episodes in our experience 
with non-violent non-co-operation. 

The nineteenth century was an age of wars for liberation 
and of violent revolutions for freedom. In a day when ordi- 
nary citizens could still afford roughly the same kinds of arms 
as those often used by the government, appeals to the barri- 
cades were frequent. But there was one struggle for national 


autonomy, according to Arthur Griffith, which was carried on 
in considerable degree by non-violent resistance. Hungary be- 
came an equal partner with Austria in the "Dual Monarchy" 
established in 1867; and this result was brought about in 
great measure through the leadership of Francis Deak, who 
insisted that non-violent tactics were the only ones that would 
work under the circumstances. Reading 13 is Griffith's per- 
haps overly dramatized account of the Hungarian struggle. 

The overriding question about non-violent struggle usually 
asked in our day is: "Can it be used against totalitarian re- 
gimes?" This is the issue to which Readings 14 and 15 address 
themselves. The answer they provide is not a conclusive one; 
but Norwegian resistance against the German occupation dur- 
ing World War II and the dramatic strike in the Soviet Union's 
Vorkuta camp must certainly be given serious consideration 
in any judgment about the future of non-violent resistance. In 
neither instance, it should be emphasized, were the partici- 
pants familiar with the general idea of non-violent resistance; 
nor were they prepared through previous training for its rigors 
and demands. 

In examining instances where non-violent resistance played 
a large role, we should never forget that it was not the only 
factor in the whole situation. Beyond the immediate context 
affected by non-violent strategies were always wider historical 
trends and contingencies militating for or against the objec- 
tives of the struggle. Like violent conflict, non-violent struggle 
is conditioned by the larger environment within which it oc- 
curs, so that it is often difficult to say what element or elements 
play the major part in effecting the ultimate result. Thus Ro- 
man imperial politics, as well as Jewish non-violent resistance, 
helped shape the outcome under Caligula; and international 
events strongly conditioned the result in nineteenth-century 
Hungary and 1953 Vorkuta. Under some circumstances, non- 
violent struggle would appear to be doomed to ineffective- 
ness, even with careful preparation. Under other conditions, 
and even with little preparation, it might give promise of con- 
siderable success. 

Although most of the readings in this part offer examples 
of more or less unprincipled non-violent resistance, we should 
not make the dichotomy between expedient and principled 
non-violence too sharp. Almost every act of collective non- 
violence involves at least a minimal preparation; and while 
the scheme of thought of which this planning is the expres- 


sion may not be highly developed, there is often an embryonic 
framework. Thus in several of the general strikes, we find 
resistance guided by rather elaborate codes of discipline which 
were themselves based on something akin to a partially de- 
veloped theory of non-violent action. Perhaps we might say 
that in Part II the use of non-violent resistance implies a theory 
of non-violent struggle; whereas the illustrations in Part III 
exemplify an explicit doctrine. 

9. Barthelemy de Ligt: THE 



Many of those who have written about non-violent struggle 
have been impressed by the fact that under modern circum- 
stances the utilization of violence for purposes of fundamental 
social change is usually self-defeating. Today all the advan- 
tages of modern weapons rest with the State, and therefore, 
whatever the moral issues may be, many thinkers have con- 
cluded that it is nearly impossible to use violence effectively 
against those wielding public authority. 

But there remains the question whether non-violent struggle 
can be eft ctive. To show that violent attacks on inequitable 
governments can hardly be successful under twentieth-century 
conditions does not in itself demonstrate that non-violent 
strategies will yield better results. The author of our next se- 
lection, however, believes they will, particularly when one con- 
siders the disproportion in the price, in terms of suffering and 
degradation, paid for gain. 
^-/'Barthelemy de Ligt was a great Dutch anarchist theorist 
who devoted a large part of his life to the study of violence 
and non-violence in human affairs. He wrote this general sur- 
vey of the possibilities of non-violent struggle from the view- 
point of an agnostic revolutionary who had reached the con- 
clusion, on strictly utilitarian grounds, that in neither war nor 
social struggle could violence be an effective instrument for 
human liberation. 

De Ligt compares violent and non-violent struggles in terms 
of the span of time necessary, the chances for success, and 
the toll taken in human suffering, and examines the efficacy 
of such methods as the general strike and non-payment of 
taxes. He discusses the tradition of non-violence in Western 
revolutionary thought and its relation to the prevention of war, 
the reform of the social order, and the treatment of criminals, 
bringing together strands of thought from such diverse sources 
as John Ruskin, Gandhi, William Morris, Georges Sorel, and 
the Irish Land League. 


The essay is excerpted from de Ligt's The Conquest of 
Violence: an Essay on War and Revolution, published in 
Honor Tracy's English translation by E. P. Dutton & Co., New 
York, 1938. De Ligt is also the author of La Paix creatrice, 
an important study in which he examined the problems of non- 
violent power and peace in various cultures and epochs in 

How much more noble non-violent methods of struggle are 
than the violent! And how much more effective, when they are 
well prepared. 

In the Transvaal, a country which in spite of the justice of 
its cause, the religious fanaticism of its people, its famous 
marksmen and a favourable position was unable to hold out 
against the brutality of British imperialism— in the Transvaal 
at the beginning of the century there lived a group of Hindu 
immigres, subject to harsh and special laws, which shackled 
them socially and economically and were profoundly offensive 
to their dignity as human beings. 

Indian coolies were employed in the mines of Natal and 
elsewhere in South Africa, and they were tied to their work by 
five-year contracts. As a rule, they were very industrious. A 
great number of Indians, once their contracts had expired, 
stayed behind in the country to set up as small peasants or 
tradesmen. At the beginning of this century, there were 12,500 
in the Transvaal. The white people, although they themselves 
had formerly penetrated into the country by violence, soon 
began to look on these peaceable rivals as undesirable in- 

In 1906 these Indians were placed on the same footing as 
criminals: every one of them had to report regularly to the 
police and have his finger-prints taken. On the advice of their 
fellow countryman/ Gandhi, a Hindu lawyer at Pretoria, some 
thousands of them decided to ignore the new regulation and 
to bear the penalties incurred by this infraction in a dignified 
manner. Meanwhile they continued to look on those who were 
treating them with mistrust and cruelty as their fellow men 
and only appealed to their human feelings. They did not wish 
to overcome by violence, but by satyagraha, or sacrifice and 
moral force, according to the methods of civil disobedience. 

The Government met this entirely non-violent rebellion with 
severe imprisonments. The non-violent combatants were even 
threatened economically. But enthusiasm was high and soli- 
darity great, the more so as the whole movement was based 
on the ancient Hindu tradition of ahimsa, the religious belief 
in non-violence. 


Gandhi, who had already been in prison, went to London in 
1910 to make a personal appeal to the British Government. 
But they would not yield. In 1912, all marriages according to 
Hindu law were declared illegal, with the result that all off- 
spring of these marriages were considered to be illegitimate 
and therefore unable to inherit. Further, an extraordinary tax 
was imposed on every Indian living in Africa. Up till then, the 
struggle had been carried on only by the small bourgeoisie- 
peasants and tradesmen. Now Gandhi called on the Indian 
workers as well, on the coolies working in the mines. Indian 
women made demonstrations in the mining districts and urged 
their countrymen everywhere to stop work until the wicked 
measures of the British Government were done away with. 
And so it was that the strike was added to the non-co-opera- 
tion. The Government was on the verge of relaxing and prom- 
ised to do away with the poll-tax, but the Hindus wanted this 
to be done immediately and further demanded full recogni- 
tion of their rights. They organized a great demonstration 
which spread all over the Transvaal. 

Large detachments of police were mobilized. Gandhi was 
arrested. But his non-violent army went on its way without a 
leader. Once more, Gandhi was released but when he rejoined 
his comrades he found that large numbers of the demonstra- 
tors were being seized upon, packed into trains and sent back 
to their own country. 

But they had attained their object: public opinion was 
shaken. Gandhi had just been sent to prison for the third time, 
for a period of fifteen months, when the Government finally 
gave in. In 1913, the poll-tax was abolished, the validity of 
Hindu marriages was recognized and the Indian immigrants 
obtained the same rights as the other South African citizens. 
The one-time Boer general, Smuts, who had declared in 1906 
that he would never abolish the special laws had to acknowl- 
edge himself morally defeated. 

One thing is indisputable, and that is, that if this little hand- 
ful of men had offered armed resistance to the violence of the 
British, they would have been crushed, and more fearfully 
than ever the Boers were— for these had been more numerous, 
better equipped and much more favourably placed from the 
strategic point of view, than the Hindu immigrants. 

And besides, such an attitude was no novelty for the Indians. 
For example, when the British Government had introduced 
an extremely unjust tax in 1912, the population of Benares 
retaliated by practising non-co-operation and paralysed the 
life of the community, by simply refusing to work for their 
rulers. The natives obeyed the leaders they had chosen under a 
free discipline. The British Government had to give way and 
the tax was abolished. 


The Indians have often used similar methods in their strug- 
gle against native tyranny. In 1830, in the State of Mysore, the 
entire population refused to work in the fields or to pay their 
taxes, leaving their villages and retiring to the forests as a 
protest against the intolerable exploitation of a native despot. 
Nowhere— as the official report of the British Government 
stated— was there any disorder. None resorted to arms. "The 
natives understand very well the use of such measures to de- 
fend themselves against the abuse of authority. The method 
most in use, and that which gives the best results, is complete 
non-co-operation in all that concerns the Government, the 
administration and public life generally." 

How much more effective non-violence is than violence as a 
means of carrying on a struggle, especially when it is against 
heavily armed powers, is shown by what happened at the be- 
ginning of the century in Bengal. There again, under the lead- 
ership of Aurobindo Ghose, sprang up an energetic non-co- 
operation movement to combat the scandalous measures of 
the British Government. They ignored the entire administra- 
tion systematically, by ceasing to co-operate with the Govern- 
ment in any department whatever. At the same time, they boy- 
cotted all British goods. Tagore, by his passionate songs, 
inspired his countrymen to sacrifice possessions and life itself 
for the liberation of their country. They built up stakes and 
burnt everything English on them: woven materials and other 
merchandise. Ghose wished his people to be so independent 
that they could supply their material and spiritual needs with- 
out paying tribute to a foreigner. 

As the British Government refused to give way, the Benga- 
lese turned against the British regime as such. Ghose called on 
his compatriots not only to ignore official authority but also, 
and above all, to help themselves in order that they might 
thereby demonstrate their fitness for political and economic in- 
dependence: they were to fight against bad hygienic condi- 
tions, found schools everywhere, establish a network of roads, 
develop agriculture, etc. But the masses had become impa- 
tient, let themselves be carried away by fanatical leaders and 
fell back on violence. The British Government asked nothing 
better. They seized the opportunity of pitilessly crushing this 
movement, which had begun so well. 

So it was not surprising if, in 1917, the peasants of Cham- 
paran resorted once more to non-violent weapons. They were 
forced by law to plant indigo on three-twentieths of their land 
and subjected to all kinds of oppressive measures on the part 
of the planters. Gandhi, who had returned to India, set about 
examining the situation of the peasants. Much disturbed, the 
planters demanded of the authorities that Gandhi should be 
expelled from the country. They did actually order Gandhi to 


leave the district at once. To which Gandhi replied that he 
had come on purpose, from a sense of duty, that he had done 
nothing but state certain facts perfectly calmly and that he 
would remain in the district to finish his task, being at the same 
time ready to undergo the punishment incurred by his dis- 
obedience. Without letting themselves be intimidated, he and 
his friends continued their campaign. But thenceforward, po- 
lice officials were present and took notes of all that went on. 
Gandhi and his collaborators organized their work in such a 
way that in case the leader was imprisoned or banished, two 
of them were able to carry on the inquiry, and if these were 
imprisoned in turn, two others would replace them and so on. 
Gandhi was called before the court. He confessed he was 
guilty in the eyes of the law and declared that there was a con- 
flict of duty in him. Should he obey the law, or his own con- 
science and serve the truly humane purpose for which he had 
come to the country? It was left to the British administration 
to assume the responsibility of eventually turning him out. The 
authorities deferred judgment and before it was pronounced 
the Lieutenant-Governor gave orders that Gandhi should be set 
free to pursue his inquiry. The Governor, having himself had 
a discussion with Gandhi, set up a Governmental Commission 
of Inquiry, of which Gandhi was a member. This Commission 
was not long in recognizing that the law about indigo and 
the exactions of the planters were unjust. The law in question 
was abolished and the peasants had gained their cause without 
any violence whatever having been used. 

We saw again in 1924, how the Untouchables of the Vykom 
village, in the Travancore State in South India, carried on, 
under the guidance of Gandhi and his friends, a struggle 
against the Brahmans, who for reasons of caste had forbidden 
them the entry of a certain raised route which was of great 
importance for trade. At that time, Gandhi was lying ill a 
hundred kilometres from the above-mentioned village. But 
the leaders of the movement came to get his advice on their 
plan of campaign, and kept in touch with him by letter and 
wire. These leaders, accompanied by some of the Untouch- 
ables, proceeded along the forbidden way towards the Brah- 
man quarters. They were cruelly beaten by their enemies: one 
of them was grievously wounded, but refrained from offering 
any violence in return. A number of them were then arrested 
by the police for having incited the Untouchables to break the 
law. They were sentenced to penalties which went up to one 
year in prison. But immediately, and from all parts of the 
country, volunteers surged towards the forbidden road to take 
their place. The Government made no further arrests and en- 


joined on the police that they were to prevent any of the "re- 
formers" from crossing the road. Then, at the instigation of 
Gandhi, the "reformers" placed themselves before the police 
cordon in the attitude of prayer. In six-hour shifts, they kept 
up this singular struggle for months, in order to soften the 
hearts of the Brahmans. More than once these non-violent 
combatants found themselves plunged up to their necks in 
water after a downpour, while the police maintained their 
cordon in boats above the water. At such times the Untouch- 
ables would relieve each other every three hours. 

This action, seemingly so naive, had nevertheless the effect 
of making this vexed question discussed through the whole of 
India. At last, in the autumn of 1925, after six months' strug- 
gle, the Brahmans gave way, perceiving that they could not 
hold out against such moral force. And the Untouchables were 
allowed to use the road, to pass the temple and to cross the 
Brahman quarters. This was the first of a whole series of re- 
forms with regard to the caste system. 

And finally in 1928, the peasants of Bardoli Taluca, in the 
Bombay province, numbering 90,000, opposed by non-violent 
methods an agrarian tax which was swallowing up as much as 
60 per cent, of their revenues. The Government ignored all 
protests. Under the direction of Vallabbhai Patel and the in- 
spiration of Gandhi, the peasants refused to pay their taxes 
although State representatives confiscated their goods and sold 
their lands. Insults, threats, even terrorization on the part of 
the Government did nothing but strengthen the moral com- 
bativity of the peasants who went on to a complete boycott 
of everything of an official nature. The local newspapers 
could speak of nothing but this enterprise, and sympathy was 
aroused throughout India. The matter was not only debated in 
the British administration in India, but even in the London 
Parliament. After six months of non-violent struggle, the un- 
just taxes were abolished. 

In 1921, India gave, under Gandhi's guidance, its first great 
example of national civil disobedience. We know the character 
of such an undertaking: a social group, a class, a people, acts 
in many circumstances as if the Government did not exist and 
ignores it systematically in the whole of economic and social 
life. The schools stand empty, the laws are not carried out, 
taxes do not come in, etc. Above all, obedience is refused to 
certain decrees or laws the abolition of which is the primary 
aim. Very often, such a full-stop or check in the life of the 
community is accompanied by strikes as well as by a refusal to 
sell or buy those goods the sale of which is a profit to the en- 
emy. In India, for instance, it is salt, alcohol and English 


woven materials. And so, joined to non-co-operation, we 
have the boycott, a method of struggle which is of the greatest 
efficacy, as China has been showing for 3,000 years past. 
Drawing their inspiration from age-old religious and moral 
conceptions, the Indian non-co-operators bear even the most 
cruel attacks of police and army, and the punishments laid 
down for breaking the law, with resignation, prepared as they 
are to suffer endlessly for the triumph of their cause. One can 
persecute them, ill-treat them, throw them into prison, they 
only hold the faster to the moral and spiritual forces by which 
they are ruled, rising above the base violence their enemies 
use, although they still appeal to them as their fellow men. 

Even more remarkable than the abstention from any kind 
of violence in the unarmed combatants is the absence of all 
fear before the aggressor and the absence of all hatred against 
the enemy. Even they go so far as to show profound confi- 
dence in the better feelings of those against whom they are 

The world knows for the best part how much of moral and 
spiritual force was shown by the awakened India in this strug- 
gle, and how, in the course of non-violent demonstrations and 
picketings before the shops, alcohol booths, etc., men and 
women— women especially— the young and the old, vied with 
each other in heroism. The British Empire had to give way: 
India won its first great victory. This country, which did not 
possess a single military means of defence, would never have 
won such a victory by non-pacific methods over the hyper- 
modern violence of the adversary. 

"However, the Indians are still far from being free!" 

But why do they always judge non-violent methods of fight- 
ing in a different way from the homicidal methods? Even in 
war the first victory is seldom the decisive one. A struggle, 
whether violent or otherwise, as a rule goes on for years. It is 
made up of luck and ill-luck, of victories and defeats, and only 
in the more favoured cases does it end in a decisive victory 
for one side or the other. 

In spite of some temporary successes, how remote a hope 
of success the Netherlands seemed to have, in their War of 
Independence against Spain in the sixteenth century. It took 
them eighty years (1568-1648) to achieve their goal, and suc- 
cess was very far from being complete even then, since they 
had to give up the whole southern part of the land. The In- 
dian struggle for independence will certainly take less time. 1 

1 Indian political independence was finally achieved in 1947. 


"But, you will object, Gandhi is a Hindu. He follows a reli- 
gious tradition that is hundreds of years old. He is a saint, an 
ascetic. How does such an example affect us? In India, non- 
violence is a traditional form of religion, while our Christian- 
ity is impregnated with violence through and through." 

We can reply that other Indians, who do not reject violence 
in principle and follow utterly different religious and moral 
traditions from those of Gandhi, have been so impressed by 
the efficacy of his fighting methods that they have adopted 
them. As is known, the British Army of Occupation in India 
recruits chiefly from among the Sikhs. These people, whose 
religion goes so far as to forbid them to lay down their sabres, 
had a serious quarrel with the Government during the period 
1922 to 1924 on the subject of the control of certain proper- 
ties belonging to some temples. Unable to solve the matter by 
violence, they decided to try direct, non-violent action. Proud 
and immovable, the sword at their side but their arms crossed, 
they put up with the most brutal behaviour on the part of the 
British police and Army without offering the slightest physical 
resistance, until they had obtained what they wanted. 

This shows that non-violent methods of struggle are not 
bound up with the person of Gandhi in particular, nor with 
any special form of religion. This is shown still more clearly by 
what happened with the Pathans, in Northern India. These 
tribes are well-known for their passion for revenge. Very 
touchy, intolerant of the slightest offence, the Pathans were 
accustomed to respond immediately with violence. That is, 
until 1930, when Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a Mahometan leader 
of the Puritan Revolution, the "Khudai Khitmatgars" or Serv- 
ants of God, and therefore outside the ancient Hindu tradition 
of non-violence, managed to convince them of the efficacy of 
unarmed resistance. From that day on, the British Govern- 
ment tried in vain to shatter the collective action of the "Red 
Shirts." This movement, which in April 1930 had 500 mem- 
bers, had 40,000 three months later and, towards the end of 
the year, 300,000. 2 Persecutions, imprisonments, executions 
without trial, so far have not shaken their courage. 

In August 1934, several leaders were set free after two years 
of prison, among others Abdul Ghaffar Khan himself, the 
"Gandhi of the frontier provinces," though he was not al- 
lowed to go back to the Punjab or the north-west district. In 
December 1934, the papers announced that Abdul Ghaffar 
Khan, "that fine man and true, beloved of millions" had again 
been sentenced to two years imprisonment, on account of a 
speech he made at Bombay, where he remarked that the part 

2 Jawaharlal Nehru, India and the World (London: Allen & Un- 
win, 1936), p. 76. 


played by the British police was not to protect the Indian popu- 
lation but to persecute them and make false charges against 
them. He had further stated that in the northern provinces, 
some Hindu soldiers had refused to fire on a quiet and un- 
armed crowd, and that some British troops had then opened 
fire, killing more than 200 people in a few minutes. 

In the middle of the last century, the French revolutionary 
Anselm Bellegarrigue, as a consequence of his social and po- 
litical experiences in the United States and in France, lost all 
confidence both in the Governments whose very nature is vio- 
lence and in revolutions from the moment they allow them- 
selves to be involved in bloodshed: in one case as in the other, 
everything rests in the final analysis on oppression and murder, 
and once caught in this trap there is no way of getting out. 
The barricades, in his view, are usually raised by those who 
wish to rule against those who are ruling. Let us do away with 
all forms of Government and govern ourselves in reasonable 
fashion, and henceforward all barricades will be superfluous 
for ever. 

"In the end," Bellegarrigue goes on, "there are no tyrants, 
only slaves." The Socialist movement has only arisen from the 
profound thirst of humanity for freedom. The exercise of 
power, even in the name of Socialism, can only kill it. A peo- 
ple is always too much governed. 

That is why Bellegarrigue spread the idea of a refusal of 
assistance, which is identified with the principle of non-co- 
operation and civil disobedience. He developed a whole "the- 
ory of calm" which opens up possibilities of overcoming even 
the most powerful regime "by abstention and inertia." Every- 
thing must succumb to the power of Abstention: social privi- 
leges, unjust taxes, spy systems, military hierarchies, must all 
give way before it, when the masses withdraw their support 
from the regime of violence and concentrate on their own 
moral force. 

So the non-violent methods of struggle are not bound then 
either to a particular religion or to a special race or people. 
European and American lovers of freedom discover its worth 
just as much as Hindu mystics, rebellious Negroes and warlike 
Sikhs. Besides, the general strike, practised as much by Eng- 
lish, Russian and Scandinavian Socialists as by French, Italian, 
Spanish and South American anarchists and syndicalists, and 
regarded since the beginning of the century as a typically pro- 
letarian means of struggle, is in itself a way of action foreign 
to the traditional violent methods. . . . 


The revolutionary syndicalist Sorel, a well-known atheist, 
whose doctrine is anything but a plea for non-violence, has 
clearly defined the difference between "Bourgeois force" and 
"Proletarian violence" (we should say: bourgeois violence and 
proletarian strength). Sorel sees in the general strike a subli- 
mation of war, a method of fighting which is fundamentally 
in keeping with the dignity of the proletariat. To fight against 
the terror of the bourgeoisie, which rears its system on the ruin 
of its enemies and whose political inquisition claims more vic- 
tims than the old Holy Inquisition ever did, there is no need 
for the proletariat to institute a counter-terror. It must, also, 
oppose all wars of conquest, a crime typical of bourgeois ra- 
pacity. The proletariat has a very different task to perform 
than aping the bourgeois fighting methods, a thing which Sorel 
reproaches Marx for having too easily forgotten: "Too often, 
he follows inspirations which belong to the past: in his writ- 
ings, he even includes a good deal of old rubbish."'' 

That Western egotist Max Stirner, a well-known atheist who 
in no way adhered to the school of absolute non-violence did 
nevertheless recognize that the greatest power the workers had 
lay in the possibility of their withdrawing their working-power 
from the bourgeoisie and feudal powers. The State only rests, 
according to him, on the enslavement of labour. The instant 
labour frees itself, the State is lost. That is why he, too, urges 
the necessity of general strikes. 4 

And in many popular meetings in the West they recited this 
verse of Herwegh: 

Mann der Arbeit aufgewacht 
Und erkenne deine Macht! 
Alle Rader stehen still 
Wenn dein starker Arm es will. 5 

The German libertarian, John Henry Mackay, of Scottish ori- 
gin, a supporter of extreme individualism, based on egoism, 
also regarded passive resistance as the only means the masses 
had to defend themselves effectively against aggressive vio- 

Mackay was deeply influenced by Benjamin Tucker, who, 
while he admitted the right of each man to defend himself by 
violence, had come by way of purely utilitarian considerations 

3 Georges Sorel, Reflexions sur la Violence (1908), p. 266. 

4 Stirner, Der Einziger und sein Eigentum (1845), p. 148. 

5 Working Man, awake! 
Learn your own power, 
All the wheels are still 
If your strong arm so wishes it. 
6 See his novel, The Anarchists. 


to the conclusion that passive resistance was the best means of 
defence for the oppressed masses. He considers it to be the 
only way of breaking both the political bureaucracy and the 
military discipline. Violent revolt is usually crushed very easily 
by the brutality of the Government. But there is no army capa- 
ble of overcoming peaceable men who do not run out on the 
streets but who, for instance, simply abstain from voting at the 
elections and refuse to do their military service or to pay their 

First of all, Tucker examined the method of non-payment of 
rents and taxes on the occasion of the fight of the Irish Land 
League for Home Rule, a league founded by Michael Davitt 
in 1879 which was a sort of agrarian movement for secession. 
Henry George describes in Irish Land Questions (1881) how 
the Irish Catholic peasants refused to pay their rent to the 
landlords, who usually were very rich Englishmen. While one 
section of the movement, led by C. S. Parnell, went in for the 
lowering of the rents and the creation of small Irish properties, 
the other members of the League, under the direction of Dav- 
itt, insisted that the land should go to the people. The Govern- 
ment mobilized 15,000 military police and 40,000 soldiers, but 
the Irish Land League got the upper hand in the country by 
boycotting the peasants and tradesmen who had taken sides 
with the Government. Doubtless, there would have been a 
certain amount of violence in this, for the Irish people have 
never been educated for unarmed struggle, but in principle 
and in practice, the methods used were far above the usual 
level of the masses in revolt. The British Government took 
extraordinary measures to imprison all who seemed to it "sus- 
pect." But each offensive act of the police or the army was 
met by the population with a strong passive resistance. Just like 
the Indians later on under Gandhi, the Irish were ready at 
this period to let themselves be imprisoned en masse and to 
replace their imprisoned countrymen in the struggle and in 
communal life. 

In an article entitled "Passive Resistance," Tucker had de- 
scribed the Irish Land League as one of the most instructive 
movements in the whole of history: although it was wrecked 
by the unscrupulous politics of Parnell, followed blindly as he 
was by the over-simple masses, the collective resistance of the 
Irish peasantry went far enough to show that the British Gov- 
ernment is helpless when confronted with such an enterprise: 
had it continued, by now there would not have been one single 
landed property in Ireland. 

As regards taxes, Tucker thinks that in America it is easier 
and more effective to refuse State taxes than ground-rents. 


For this reason, he encourages all countries placed in similar 
circumstances collectively to resist taxes. "If one-fifth of the 
people were to resist taxation, it would cost more to collect 
their taxes, or try to collect them, than the other four-fifths 
would consent to pay into the treasury . . . 'Passive resist- 
ance,' said Ferdinand Lassalle, 'is the resistance which does 
not resist.' Never was there a greater mistake. It is the only re- 
sistance which in these days of military discipline resists with 
any result. There is not a tyrant in the civilized world to-day 
who would not rather do anything in his power to precipitate 
a bloody revolution rather than see himself confronted by any 
large fraction of his subjects determined not to obey." For 
nothing is easier for modern Governments than to crush revo- 
lutionary violence. "Neither the ballot nor the bayonet is to 
play any great part in the coming struggle; passive resistance 
is the instrument by which the revolutionary force is destined 
to secure in the last great conflict the people's rights forever." 7 

We must admit that the Irish have always shown a marked 
taste for violence. So that, during several centuries they have 
fought against the hard domination of the British with the most 
brutal and even treacherous methods. But, being unable to at- 
tain their ends in this way, towards 1880 they tried to practise 
a boycott, though in a sufficiently violent manner. The very 
word "boycott" is of Irish origin, although it describes a fight- 
ing method which, as we have already said, has been in use for 
thousands of years in China, and of which the efficacy has 
been proved many times by the United States, England and 

We have already seen how Gandhi himself admits that he 
owes a great many of his ideas to Tolstoy. If we do not linger 
much here over the ideas of the great Russian relating to non- 
violent direct action, both individual and collective, and the 
international influence which they have had, it is because we 
assume they are already well-known to the reader. What is not 
generally known, is that the great general strike to happen in 
Russia, in 1905, the only one of the three which was truly suc- 
cessful, was absolutely peaceable and of the sort Tolstoy had 
been urging for years. 

"Workmen, clerks, professional men, even Government em- 
ployees and dvorniks (janitors converted into spies and in- 
formers) simply dropped their tools, briefs, documents, and 
what not, and refused to carry on the activities of industrial 
and political life. The result, on the Government's side, was 
panic. A constitution was granted; a whole series of reforms 
—on paper— followed. 

7 B. R. Tucker, Individual Liberty (New York: Vanguard Press, 
1926), pp. 78, 244-47. 


"The second strike was called when the circumstances were 
unfavourable, and the causes distinctly doubtful in the opinion 
of the majority of the Government's enemies. It failed, and the 
consequent bitterness and apprehension led to a third strike, 
with an appeal to arms at Moscow. That appeal was most 
unfortunate. . . . 

"Of course, human nature is human nature, and it were 
both idle and unfair to blame the distracted and exasperated 
Russian radicals for the turn events have taken. . . . Still, the 
fact remains that, had the policy of strictly passive resistance 
been continued, and had not the strike and boycott weapon 
been too recklessly used, the cause of freedom and progress 
in Russia would to-day rejoice in much brighter prospects." 

That is the conclusion reached by Tucker with regard to the 
events in St Petersburg in 1905-6, set down in his American 
paper "Liberty" 8 where he developed, a propos of the non- 
violent methods of struggle of the working-classes, exactly the 
same point of view as that upheld by Tom Mooney, during the 
hearings of the Tom Mooney habeas corpus proceedings, 
closed finally in San Francisco on August 18, 1936: "Vio- 
lence is the weapon used by the employers. . . . Violence 
wins no strike . . . only education and organization." 9 

. . . John Ruskin, without believing in non-violence on 
principle— indeed, this anarchistically inclined spirit sometimes 
showed an imperialist nationalism in its most extreme form 10 
—stressed the responsibility which exists with regard to all 
work to be done and advocated the refusal of all work which 
is harmful. During the Franco-Prussian war, while English 
industry was reaping huge profits from munition making, Rus- 
kin urged the British workers not to take part in this shameful 
business, nor to do any work which was unworthy of men. 

"The first reason for all wars, and for the necessity of na- 
tional defences, is that the majority of persons, high and low, 
in all European nations, are Thieves, and, in their hearts, 
greedy of their neighbours' goods, land and fame. But beside 
being Thieves, they are also fools. . . . And the guilty Thieves 
of Europe, the real sources of all deadly war in it, are the 
Capitalists. . . . The Real war in Europe is between these and 
the workman, such as these have made him. 

8 Tucker, op. cit., pp. 79-80. 

Tom Mooney Molders' Defence Committee, Press Service, Au- 
gust 26, 1936. 

10 See Bertrand Russell, Freedom versus Organization, 1814- 
1914 (New York: Norton, 1934), p. 461. 


"You are to do good work, whether you live or die. It may 
be that you will have to die;— well, men have died for their 
country often, yet doing her no good; be ready to die for her 
in doing her assured good: her, and all other countries with 
her. Mind your own business with absolute heart and soul; but 
see that it is a good business first. That it is corn and sweet peas 
you are producing,— not gunpowder and arsenic. And be sure 
of this, literally: you must simply die rather than make any 
destroying mechanism or compound. 

"There is no physical crime, at this day, so far beyond par- 
don,— so without parallel in its untempted guilt, as the making 
of war-machinery, and invention of mischievous substance. 
Two nations may go mad, and fight like harlots— God have 
mercy on them;— you, who hand them carving-knives off the 
table, for leave to pick up a dropped sixpence, what mercy is 
there for you?" 

So John Ruskin wrote in July 1871, in his VHth Letter to 
the Workmen and Labourers of Great Britain. 

By a happy chance, a Dutch translation of these words fell 
beneath the eye of the author of this book while he was still 
adolescent, and they have been an inspiration to him through- 
out his whole life. 

Ruskin was one of the rare Europeans who are against all 
forms of vengeance and retribution (an eye for an eye). Al- 
though he did not reject certain kinds of punishment, he 
pleaded for non-retaliation, just as Gandhi did. In the same 
letter to the British Workers as we have just quoted, Ruskin 
wisely charges them never to take revenge for injuries. 11 

In his book Time and Tide (1867), a series of twenty-five 
letters to the Sunderland workers, Ruskin deals in the last two 
with the task of the soldier and urges the transformation of 
military warfare into social and cultural works: "Our whole 
system of work must be based on the nobleness of soldier- 
ship." 12 . . . 

That gifted workman, William Morris, poet and thinker at 
once, deeply influenced by Karl Marx and Pyotr Kropotkin, 
condemned all horizontal violence, whether foreign wars or 
colonial, and accepted only the social war, the class strug- 
gle. . . . 

Morris also establishes a clear distinction between useful 
work and useless toil. In his essay Useful Work versus Useless 
Toil he attacks the conception generally adopted by the ruling 
class that work is useful in itself, especially for the exploited 
class, as a vulgar lie. For there is work which is useful and also 
work which is both useless and harmful. "The first has hope in 

11 John Ruskin, Fors Clavigera, II, pp. 15-20. 

12 Ruskin, Time and Tide, Letter XXV. 


it, the other has not. It is manly to do the one kind of work and 
manly also to refuse to do the other"; 13 the first has a creative 
and emancipating significance, the second is only the shameful 
work of a slave. As for war work, Morris declares in his essay 
How We Live and How We Might Live: "I won't submit to 
be dressed up in red and marched off to shoot at my French, 
German or Arab friend, in a quarrel that I don't understand: 
I will rebel sooner than do that." 14 

Morris was one of those who, in England, held that "British 
Socialism is not a purely materialistic criticism of economic 
theory, but behind it there is a basis of ethical criticism and 
theory." 15 

This view was also held by Bruce Glasier and Keir Hardie, 
the founder of the Independent Labour Party, which, during 
the World War, upheld internationalism above the melee, to- 
gether with the Russian, Italian and American Socialist Party. 
The essentials of their conception may be summed up in this 
one word:' humanism. 

In the same way, the I.L.P. at the International Socialist 
Congress at Copenhagen (1910) proposed an amendment to 
the resolution concerning the fight against war, demanding ex- 
tra-Parliamentary action, especially general strikes, in indus- 
tries that supply war material, as one of the methods of pre- 
venting war; and Keir Hardie declared that the point of view 
of labour had not only to be anti-war but anti-military, because 
militarism and freedom could not exist side by side. Keir 
Hardie did not expect that the workers were at present ready 
to strike against war; but they never would be ready to do so 
unless we helped to educate them by pointing out to them their 
duty. 16 "The Nation that has the courage to be the first to 
throw away its arms will win for itself one of the greatest 
names in history," he declared. 

In Holland, it was the late Dr. Clara Meijer-Wichmann, an 
eminent sociologist of German origin, who, inspired by Marx, 
Hegel, Tolstoy, Sorel and the French syndicalists of the be- 
ginning of the century, developed in particular the thesis of a 

13 William Morris, Stories in Prose, Stories in Verse, Shorter 
Poems, Lectures and Essays, Centenary Edition, ed. by G. D. H. 
Cole (New York: Random House, 1934), p. 604. 

"Ibid., p. 581. 

15 John Bruce Glasier, William Morris (New York: Longmans, 
1921), p. vii. 

16 W. Stewart, /. Keir Hardie (London: Cassell, 1921), pp. 


compelling harmony between the goal to be reached and the 
means to be used in the revolutionary study. The maxim that 
the end justifies the means can only be allowed in one sense, 
according to her, a sacred goal demands sacred means. Since 
Socialism coincides perfectly with humanity— the human feel- 
ing in men— its methods must never be at variance with, nor 
offend against, this humanity. For this reason, revolution ought 
to bring to the human race the noblest of moral qualities, that 
of solidarity. A real revolutionary can never be an enemy to 
his enemies nor a criminal to criminals, the more so as crim- 
inals are in the first place victims of society. The revolution de- 
mands not only the renunciation of all violence in regard to 
nations and classes, but also to individuals. Complete anti-mil- 
itarism transforms itself in this way into a new individual and 
social education which, combining with modern psychological 
knowledge and psychotherapy at last renders the barracks as 
unnecessary as the prisons. 

It was by no mere chance that in Holland Clara Meijer- 
Wichmann took the initiative in creating a Committee of Ac- 
tion against the traditional ideas on crime and punishment. She 
was not only the head of the Judicial Department in the Statis- 
tics Bureau at the Hague, but she was also married to Jo 
Meijer, one of the bravest of conscientious objectors who him- 
self had to undergo terms of imprisonment. 

The question of the treatment of the victims of common law 
presented itself in Holland in the same way as in England. 
There, too, the imprisonment of a large number of advanced 
men and women, who had refused to take any part in the War, 
faced these anti-War believers with one of the most burning 
questions of the day: the fate of criminals— especially as they 
themselves had experienced it. In England it was notably A. 
Fenner Brockway who, after undergoing severe punishments 
during the World War, simply because he remained faithful to 
International Socialism, became the champion of this cause. 17 

In Holland, it was Clara Meijer-Wichmann again who de- 
clared that in the history of civilization, criminal law is one of 
the branches which has stayed centuries behind compared with 
the advancement and transformation of the others. While mod- 
ern psychologists and pedagogues have recognized the ineffi- 
cacy and the injustice of all kinds of retaliation and intimida- 
tion, justice is still a kind of social vengeance whose aim is to 
intimidate and to put out of harm's way. The widespread crim- 
inality that we meet with nowadays has always been a symp- 
tom of abnormal times, the degree of criminality being 
more or less determined by the relative order or disorder of the 
society in question. A great number of the degenerates who 

17 See Fenner Brockway, A New Way with Crime (London: 
Williams & Norgate, 1928). 


fill the prisons come from unfavourable surroundings where 
alcoholism, scrofula and syphilis, flourish, that is to say, these 
criminals are first and foremost victims of hereditary and social 
blemishes, and they should be treated as victims to be rescued 
and succoured, and no longer be driven out from among their 
fellow men as scapegoats. The fight for entire revision of the 
treatment accorded to criminals must be supplemented by the 
struggle for social justice and for physical, moral and mental 
hygiene. 18 

And here are some remarkable conclusions reached by Hen- 
rietta Roland Hoist, one of the best-known theorists of modern 
Socialism, after a long life of revolutionary activity. A friend 
of Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht, she belonged, even 
before the war, to that group of neo-Marxists who worked out 
a new kind of tactic against modern imperialism. Madame 
Hoist, after the experiences of the Russian revolution in 1905, 
became a firm believer in direct action on the part of the 
masses and in non-co-operation as regards national defence. 
During the Great War, she joined the Zimmerwald movement 
with Lenin, and when the Russian revolution broke out, she 
was extremely enthusiastic. At one time, she even maintained 
the view that to ensure the success of the Revolution the end 
justifies the means, and that, in case of failure, the revolution- 
ary must give up even the highest demands of his conscience. 
This was all the more remarkable because, some years ago, 
Madame Roland Hoist had published a long historical and 
sociological study on the revolutionary action of the masses, in 
which she had laid great stress on the importance of the moral 
factor in the battle for a new society. 1!) And there had even 
been a debate, which became a classic, between Clara Meijer- 
Wichmann and Henrietta Roland Hoist, on the subject of social 
revolution and violence.- But the way the Russian revolution 
went, its militarization, its bureaucratization, the violent in- 
justices it perpetrated in the name of revolutionary justice— a 
whole string of these errors at last brought Madame Hoist to 
break with Moscow. 

Under the title of Sterft gij oude vormen en gedachten, 
which is a line taken from the Dutch version of the Interna- 
tionale meaning "Let us raze the past to the ground," she pub- 
lished a pamphlet on the occasion of the defeat of the Aus- 
trian Socialists in their attack against Fascism in February 
1934. In these pages after honouring the courage of the Social 

18 Meijer-Wichmann, Misdaad, Straf en Maatschappij; Mensch 
en Maatschappij; Bevrijding. 

19 Roland Hoist, Revolutionnaire Massa-Aktie. 

20 See Gewalt and Gewaltlosigkeit. A Handbook of Active Pac- 
ifism, published by Franz Kobler. 


Democrats, who had been defeated weapons in hand, she 
warns her readers against the halo of romantic heroism which 
had already sprung up round this tragic episode. According to 
Madame Hoist, Austrian Socialism had fallen through using 
political and strategical methods which were obsolete, and 
through the traditional faith it put in collective violence. One 
thing, she says, must be noticed, which is that in modern Social- 
ism there are two contradictory tendencies, one which is in 
favour of confidence in all that is human and humanitarian, 
the other which accepts war, dictatorship and even terror. The 
first, which at the beginning seemed very strong, has been more 
and more neglected while the second has grown at its expense. 
The masses in Austria, as elsewhere, had been educated with a 
view to a final armed struggle, beside which general strikes, 
non-co-operation and other forms of non-violent struggle were 
held to be of secondary importance. But "it is unhappily a law 
that the energy which one uses in one kind of fight is just so 
much energy lost in another . . . The Austrian workers who 
resorted to arms had remained enslaved by the technique of 
modern war. . . . Modern armaments have reduced the 
armed revolts of the masses to absurdity, and they are doomed 
simply to become a vulgar copy of the system they are attack- 
ing." . . . 

In 1937, Madame Hoist expressed her satisfaction over the 
fact that non-violent action had taken on a new form, that of 
the sit-down strike, of which the first example was given in Oc- 
tober 1934 by 1,200 coal miners in the Hungarian town called 
Pecs. During a wage conflict, these miners refused to leave 
the mine and said that unless their economic conditions were 
improved they would starve themselves to death. 21 In 1936, 
millions of workers in the French industries used the same 
methods. "No blood was shed, and hundreds of thousands of 
workers thus took a step towards a higher humanity." 22 And 
they did this solely by their own moral strength. . . . 

There is a surprising agreement between the latest conclu- 
sions of Henrietta Roland Hoist and those of the Russian revo- 
lutionary J. Steinberg, one time People's Commissar for Jus- 
tice, in the first Bolshevist Government. Steinberg had accepted 
his commission in the hope of directing the Russian Revolution 
towards really humane ways of battle. Against his will, he 
found himself dragged into terror. In his book on violence and 
terror in revolution, he has described how certain methods 

21 See R. B. Gregg, The Power of Non-Violence (Philadelphia: 
Lippincott, 1934), pp. 15-17. 

22 Henrietta Roland Hoist, in Vrienden van India, April 20, 


drag inexorably on those who use them to the point where they 
are completely lost and at sea, how these methods are in con- 
tradiction with the proposed aim: the revolution is bound to 
perish when, for purely utilitarian motives, it neglects the 
moral factor or acts according to the childish maxim "since 
the others are doing it, we can too." According to him, every 
kind of terror should be banished from the methods of revolu- 
tionary struggle, and violence can only be given the smallest 
place. A revision of the whole revolutionary tactic is called 
for.- 3 

Nothing is more superficial and more false than the state- 
ment of Edouard Berth: 

"Yes, war between States or war between Classes— the ques- 
tion is put and the dilemma insoluble: and revolutionaries are 
only pacifist when it comes to war between States: they con- 
sider that war between States has had its day and must give 
way to the Class war: a complete pacifist would be a man who 
denies both and supports peace international and social: but 
such a man could only be a Buddhist ascetic or a Christian or 
a Tolstoyan. A man of this sort renounces the world, with- 
draws into his cell or the desert, and, fundamentally, cuts him- 
self off from life." 24 . . . 

For we mean something entirely different: a revolutionary 
anti-militarism, a continual social struggle in which the aggres- 
sive instinct affirms itself on the highest level and which opens 
up the way to victories and triumphs that the working-class 
movement would never obtain by any kind of homicidal "class- 

Berth's great mistake was to think of war as "the absence of 
peace," a conception against which Erasmus once took his 
stand. 25 From this point of view, Emmanuel Mounier is right 
in maintaining the thesis that true peace is the expansion of all 
human powers: "Peace, true peace, is not a feeble state in 
which Man gives up. Neither is it a reservoir indifferent to 
good and evil alike. It is strength." As de Montherlant says, 
"Bring about a peace which shall have the same spiritual 
grandeur as war. Bring to peace the war virtues." "Peace is 

23 Steinberg, Gewalt und Terror in der Revolution; Als ich 
Volkskommissar war. 

2i Berth, Guerre des ILtats on Guerre des Classes, pp. 80-81. 

20 "Upon the whole it must be said that the first and most impor- 
tant step towards peace is sincerely to desire it. They who once 
love peace in their hearts will eagerly seize every opportunity of 
establishing or recovering it." Erasmus, Querela Pads, ed. Grieve, 
p. 71. 


not declared, it comes from within. ... It is on the way to 
this peace you will find the battalion of pacifists."- To the 
negative pacifism which would renounce the world, and even 
life itself— and which, by the way, has nothing in common with 
the revolutionary pacifism of a Tolstoy— we oppose this pacifist 
battle, which, using methods which are both new and truly 
worthy of men, creates a harmonious commonwealth over and 
above all frontiers. 

26 Mounier, Revolution personnaliste et communautaire, pp. 

10. Theodor Mommsen: 



One of the classic examples of non-violent revolution in 
ancient times was the non-violent non-co-operation of the Ro- 
man plebeians in the third century B.C. Carried out almost 
spontaneously, it shook the foundations of the aristocratic re- 
public and led to substantial economic and political reforms. 

Before the revolution, the plebeians suffered under rigorous 
laws that imprisoned them for debt and made them virtual 
slaves of the wealthy in certain crucial respects. Moreover, 
while the plebeians were expected to serve as soldiers in the 
army of the State and to be assiduous workers in civil life, 
they had little voice in the government of the Republic. Nor 
did they have any effective way to redress grievances through 
the regularly established machinery of the State. When fi- 
nally they did act directly against patrician control, it was not 
as the result of an abstract philosophy of non-violent power 
but rather because they seemed to realize almost subcon- 
sciously that the withdrawal of their labor would itself pre- 
cipitate a settlement. 

The author of our reading, Theodor Mommsen (1817- 
1903), ranks as one of the greatest scholars of modern times. 
For a time, he was professor of Roman law at Leipzig but 
was dismissed from his position because he was too "liberal." 
In 1858, he became professor of ancient history at the Uni- 
versity of Berlin. He was also active in politics, being a mem- 
ber of the Prussian Parliament from 1873 to 1882. 

The reading presented here is excerpted from Mommsen's 
The History of Rome, English translation by William Purdie 
Dickson, new edition, revised (London: Richard Bentley and 
Son, 1894), Vol. I, pp. 346-50. 

The distinction between rich and poor, which arose out of 
these relations, by no means coincided with that between the 
clans and the plebeians. If far the greater part of the patricians 
were wealthy land-holders, opulent and considerable families 


were, of course, not wanting among the plebeians; and as the 
senate, which even then perhaps consisted in greater part of 
plebeians, had assumed the superintendence of the finances to 
the exclusion even of the patrician magistrates, it was natural 
that all those economic advantages, for which the political priv- 
ileges of the nobility were abused, should go to the benefit of 
the wealthy collectively; and the pressure fell the more heavily 
upon the commons, since those who were the ablest and the 
most capable of resistance were by their admission to the sen- 
ate transferred from the class of the oppressed to the ranks of 
the oppressors. 

But this state of things prevented the political position of the 
aristocracy from being permanently tenable. Had it possessed 
the self-control to govern justly and to protect the middle class 
—as individual consuls from its ranks endeavoured, but from 
the reduced position of the magistracy were unable effectually, 
to do— it might have long maintained itself in sole possession of 
the offices of state. Had it been willing to admit the wealthy 
and respectable plebeians to full equality of rights— possibly 
by connecting the acquisition of the patriciate with admission 
into the senate— both might long have governed and speculated 
with impunity. But neither of the courses was adopted; the 
narrowness of mind and short-sightedness, which are the 
proper and inalienable privileges of all genuine patricianism, 
were true to their character also in Rome, and rent the power- 
ful commonwealth asunder in useless, aimless, and inglorious 

The immediate crisis, however, proceeded not from those 
who felt the disabilities of their order, but from the distress of 
the farmers. The rectified annals place the political revolution 
in the year 244, the social in the years 259 and 260; they cer- 
tainly appear to have followed close upon each other, but the 
interval was probably longer. The strict enforcement of the 
law of debt— so runs the story— excited the indignation of the 
farmers at large. When in the year 259 the levy was called 
forth for a dangerous war, the men bound to serve refused to 
obey the command. Thereupon the consul Publius Servilius 
suspended for a time the application of the debtor-laws, and 
gave orders to liberate the persons already imprisoned for debt 
as well as prohibited further arrests; so that the farmers took 
their places in the ranks and helped to secure the victory. On 
their return from the field of battle the peace, which had been 
achieved by their exertions, brought back their prison and their 
chains: with merciless rigour the second consul, Appius Clau- 
dius, enforced the debtor-laws and his colleague, to whom his 
former soldiers appealed for aid, dared not offer opposition. It 
seemed as if collegiate rule had been introduced not for the 
protection of the people, but to facilitate breach of faith and 


despotism; they endured, however, what could not be changed. 
But when in the following year the war was renewed, the word 
of the consul availed no longer. It was not till Manius Valerius 
was nominated dictator that the farmers submitted, partly from 
their awe of the higher magisterial authority, partly from their 
confidence in his friendly feeling to the popular cause— for the 
Valerii were one of the old patrician clans by whom govern- 
ment was esteemed a privilege and an honour, not a source of 
gain. The victory was again with the Roman standards; but 
when the victors came home and the dictator submitted his pro- 
posals of reform to the senate, they were thwarted by its ob- 
stinate opposition. The army still stood in its array, as usual, 
before the gates of the city. When the news arrived, the long 
threatening storm burst forth; the esprit de corps and the com- 
pact military organization carried even the timid and the in- 
different along with the movement. The army abandoned its 
general and its encampment, and under the leadership of the 
commanders of the legions— the military tribunes, who were at 
least in great part plebeians— marched in martial order into the 
district of Crustumeria between the Tiber and the Anio, where 
it occupied a hill and threatened to establish in this most fertile 
part of the Roman territory a new plebeian city. This secession 
showed in a palpable manner even to the most obstinate of the 
oppressors that such a civil war must end with economic ruin 
to themselves; and the senate gave way. The dictator negoti- 
ated an agreement; the citizens returned within the city walls; 
unity was outwardly restored. The people gave Manius Vale- 
rius thenceforth the name of "the great" (maximus)— and 
called the mount beyond the Anio "the sacred mount." There 
was something mighty and elevating in such a revolution, un- 
dertaken by the multitude itself without definite guidance under 
generals whom accident supplied, and accomplished without 
bloodshed; and with pleasure and pride the citizens recalled its 
memory. Its consequences were felt for many centuries: it was 
the origin of the tribunate of the plebs. 

11. Flavius Josephus: 



The ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (a.d. 37-95?) 
has left us a dramatic account of non-violent resistance among 
the Jews during the reign of the Roman emperor Caligula 
(a.d. 37-41). Although certain Jews living at that time did 
espouse principled doctrines of non-violent resistance, the Jew- 
ish community's behavior during the incident that Josephus 
relates seems to have been motivated by its helplessness in a 
military sense, rather than by any articulated set of beliefs 
and, as such, is included here instead of in Part III. (Caligula 
is here referred to as Caius.) 

The incident had its beginnings in Caligula's determination 
to force the Jews to erect his statue in the Temple at Jerusa- 
lem, to which end he appointed Petronius president of Syria 
and dispatched him to the eastern Mediterranean. To the 
Jews, of course, the erection of any man's statue within the 
sacred portals of the Temple would have been an act of idola- 
try, and Josephus' account is a description of the methods by 
which they tried to dissuade Petronius and the emperor from 
their course. 

Josephus' interpretation of the episode emphasizes "prov- 
idential" factors. Basing his notions on an important current 
in the Jewish tradition, he holds that because the Jews were 
willing in large numbers to suffer passively rather than de- 
liberately violate their law, God took mercy on them and 
protected them. Yet the reader will see that the cancellation 
of the order was, in the end, due as much to events in Rome 
as it was to the Jews' efforts, and so the story serves to illus- 
trate one of the major difficulties we face in assessing the ef- 
fectiveness of non-violent action: the influence of events in no 
way connected with the non-violent struggle in question, yet 
helping to bring about a successful outcome. 

The reading is taken from Book XVIII, Chapter 8, of 
William Whiston's translation of Josephus' Antiquities of the 
Jews. This translation first appeared in 1737. 


Hereupon Caius, taking it very heinously that he should be 
thus despised by the Jews alone, sent Petronius to be president 
of Syria, and successor in the government to Vitellius, and 
gave him order to make an invasion into Judea, with a great 
body of troops; and if they would admit of his statue willingly, 
to erect it in the temple of God; but if they were obstinate, to 
conquer them by war, and then to do it. Accordingly, Petro- 
nius took the government of Syria, and made haste to obey 
Caesar's epistle. He got together as great a number of auxilia- 
ries as he possibly could, and took with him two legions of the 
Roman army, and came to Ptolemais, and there wintered, as 
intending to set about the war in the Spring. . . . But there 
came many ten thousands of the Jews to Petronius, to Ptole- 
mais, to offer their petitions to him, that he would not compel 
them to transgress and violate the law of their forefathers; "but 
if," said they, "thou art entirely resolved to bring this statue, 
and erect it, do thou first kill us, and then do what thou hast 
resolved on; for while we are alive we cannot permit such 
things as are forbidden us to be done by the authority of our 
legislator, and by our forefathers' determination that such pro- 
hibitions are instances of virtue." But Petronius was angry at 
them, and said, "If indeed I were myself emperor, and were at 
liberty to follow my own inclination, and then had designed to 
act thus, these your words would be justly spoken to me; but 
now Caesar hath sent to me, I am under the necessity of being 
subservient to his decrees. . . ." Then the Jews replied, "Since, 
therefore, thou art so disposed, O Petronius! that thou wilt not 
disobey Caius's epistles, neither will we transgress the com- 
mands of our law. . . ." 

When Petronius saw by their words that their determination 
was hard to be removed, and that ... he should not be able 
to be subservient to Caius in the dedication of his statue, and 
that there must be a great deal of bloodshed, he took his 
friends, and the servants that were about him, and hasted to 
Tiberias, as wanting to know in what posture the affairs of the 
Jews were; and many ten thousands of the Jews met Petronius 
again, when he was come to Tiberias. These . . . made sup- 
plication to him, that he would by no means reduce them to 
such distresses, nor defile their city with the dedication of their 
statue. Then Petronius said to them, "Will you then make war 
with Caesar, without considering his great preparations for 
war, and your own weakness?" They replied, "We will not by 
any means make war with him, but still we will die before we 
see our laws transgressed." So they threw themselves down 
upon their faces, and stretched out their throats, and said they 


were ready to be slain; and this they did for forty days to- 
gether, and in the meantime left off the tilling of their ground, 
and that while the season of the year required them to sow it. 
Thus they continued firm in their resolution, and proposed to 
themselves to die willingly, rather than to see the dedication 
of the statue. 

When matters were in this state, Aristobulus, king Agrippa's 
brother, and Helcias the Great, and the other principal men of 
that family with them, went in unto Petronius, and besought 
him, that since he saw the resolution of the multitude, he would 
not make any alteration, and thereby drive them to despair. 
... So Petronius, partly on account of the pressing instances 
which Aristobulus and the rest with him made, and because of 
the great consequence of what they desired, and the earnest- 
ness wherewith they made their supplication,— partly on ac- 
count of the firmness of the opposition made by the Jews, 
which he saw, while he thought it a horrible thing for him to be 
such a slave to the madness of Caius, as to slay so many thou- 
sand men. . . . Petronius, I say, thought it much better to 
send to Caius . . . that if this mad resolution continued he 
[Petronius] should turn his hatred against himself, [that] it 
was fit for virtuous persons even to die for the sake of such 
vast multitudes of men. Accordingly, he determined to hearken 
to the petitioners in this matter. 

He then called the Jews together to Tiberias, who came 
many ten thousands in number. . . . Said he, "I do not think it 
just to have such a regard to my own safety and honour, as to 
refuse to sacrifice them for your preservation, who are so 
many in number, and endeavour to preserve the regard that is 
due to your law. ... I will, therefore, send to Caius, and let 
him know what your resolutions are, and will assist your suit 
as far as I am able, that you may not be exposed to suffer on 
account of the honest designs you have proposed to yourselves; 
and may God be your assistant. . . . But if Caius be irritated, 
and turn the violence of his rage upon me, I will rather un- 
dergo all that danger and that affliction that may come either 
on my body or my soul, than see so many of you to per- 
ish. . . ." 

. . . When Petronius had said this, and had dismissed the 
assembly of the Jews, he desired the principal of them to take 
care of their husbandry, and to speak kindly to the people, and 
encourage them to have good hope of their affairs. Thus did 
he readily bring the multitude to be cheerful again. . . . He 
wrote to Caius ... to entreat him not to make so many ten 
thousands of these men go distracted; whom, if he should slay 
... he would lose the revenue they paid him, and would be 
publicly cursed by them for all future ages. 


But king Agrippa, who now lived at Rome, was more and 
more in the favour of Caius; and when he had once made him 
a supper, and was careful to exceed all others, both in ex- 
penses and in such preparations as might contribute most to 
his pleasure; nay, it was so far from the ability of others, that 
Caius himself could never equal, much less exceed it (such 
care had he taken beforehand to exceed all men, and partic- 
ularly to make all agreeable to Caesar); hereupon Caius ad- 
mired his understanding and magnificence, that he should force 
himself to do all to please him, even beyond such expenses as 
he could bear, and was desirous not to be behind Agrippa in 
that generosity which he exerted in order to please him. So 
Caius, when he had drank wine plentifully, and was merrier 
than ordinary, said thus during the feast, when Agrippa had 
drunk to him: "I knew before now how great a respect thou 
hast had for me, and how great kindness thou hast shown me, 
though with those hazards to thyself, which thou underwentest 
under Tiberias on that account. . . . Every thing that may 
contribute to thy happiness shall be at thy service, and that 
cheerfully, and so far as my ability will reach." And this was 
what Caius said to Agrippa, thinking he would ask for some 
large country, or the revenues of certain cities. . . . Agrippa 
replied, "Since thou, O my lord! declarest such is thy readiness 
to grant, that I am worthy of thy gifts, I will ask nothing re- 
lating to my own felicity; for what thou hast already bestowed 
on me has made me excel therein; but I desire somewhat which 
may make thee glorious for piety . . . ; for my petition is this, 
that thou wilt no longer think of the dedication of that statue 
which thou hast ordered to be set up in the Jewish temple by 

Caius, who was mightily taken with Agrippa's obliging be- 
haviour, . . . granted him what he had requested. He also 
wrote thus to Petronius, commending him for his assembling 
his army, and then consulting him about these affairs. "If 
therefore," said he, "thou hast already erected my statue, let it 
stand; but if thou hast not yet dedicated it, do not trouble thy- 
self further about it, but dismiss thy army, go back, and take 
care of those affairs which I sent thee about at first, for I have 
now no occasion for the erection of that statue." . . . And this 
was what Caius wrote to Petronius, which was before he re- 
ceived his letter, informing him that the Jews were very ready 
to revolt about the statue. . . . When therefore Caius was 
much displeased that any attempt should be made against his 
government, as he was a slave to base and vicious actions on all 
occasions, he wrote thus to Petronius: "Seeing thou esteemest 
the presents made thee by the Jews to be of greater value than 


my commands, ... I will make thee an example to the pres- 
ent and to all future ages, that they may not dare to contradict 
the commands of their emperor." 

This was the epistle which Caius wrote to Petronius; but Pe- 
tronius did not receive it while Caius was alive, that ship which 
carried it sailing so slow, that other letters came to Petronius 
before this, by which he understood that Caius was dead; for 
God would not forget the dangers Petronius had undertaken 
on account of the Jews, and of his own honour. But when he 
had taken Caius away, out of his indignation of what he had 
so insolently attempted in assuming to himself divine worship, 
both Rome and all that dominion conspired with Petronius, 
especially those that were of the senatorian order, to give Caius 
his due reward, because he had been unmercifully severe to 
them; for he died not long after he had written to Petronius 
that epistle which threatened him with death. . . . Now that 
epistle which informed Petronius of Caius's death came first, 
and a little afterward came that which commanded him to kill 
himself with his own hands. Whereupon he rejoiced at this co- 
incidence as to the death of Caius, and admired God's provi- 
dence. . . . 

12. Wilfred H. Crook: 

Collective withholding of labor, or the "strike," is a familiar 
phenomenon in industrial relations. Most strikes, however, 
have as their objectives only immediate economic gains for 
the workers who organize them. The majority, moreover, in- 
volve only one or two industries at most. 

In contrast with the usual type, the general strike has been 
characterized as a "walk-out of the workers in the key in- 
dustries and services of a particular area, local or national." 1 
It is less immediately self-interested than the ordinary strike 
and may be employed as a technique for political as well as 
economic objectives. In one of his essays, the American au- 
thor Jack London imagines the general strike being used to 
destroy what he regards as the whole exploiting capitalist 
system of property relations. 2 Some thinkers regard the gen- 
eral strike as particularly effective against regimes founded on 
brute force and lacking free parliamentary institutions. Others 
see it as a method for overcoming public inertia even in par- 
liamentary and democratic societies. 

The notion of the general strike probably has its roots in 
the ideas of the British Chartist movement of more than a 
hundred years ago. According to one of its leaders, William 
Benbow, there was to be a "grand national holiday" of the 
workers that would, through mass refusal to work, put pres- 
sure on the government for fundamental parliamentary re- 
form. In the United States, the first general strike occurred in 
1835, when workers in Philadelphia sought to gain the ten- 
hour day. Another notable example was the St. Louis strike of 
1877, which was led by the Workingman's Party. And of 
course there was the famous Seattle affair of 1919. 

General strikes have often been associated with violence, 
even though their leaders may have cautioned against the use 

1 Wilfred H. Crook, Communism and the General Strike (Ham- 
den, Connecticut: the Shoe String Press, 1960), p. 6. 

2 The Dream of Debs. (Chicago: Kerr, 1919). 


of violence as being self-defeating. In practice, of course, it 
is extremely difficult in any conflict to prevent all violent mani- 
festations; and general strikes obviously occur in the context 
of acute conflict. Much, however, can be done to develop 
discipline among those who are conducting the strike, and ex- 
perience would seem to show that the strikes most likely to 
be relatively successful are characterized by the least violence 
on the part of those conducting them. If strikers resort to 
violence, whether initially or in response to provocation, they 
simply provide an excuse for the government to use force 
against them; and once force has been employed, the original 
issues leading to the strike become confused or are often for- 

The reading below presents several examples of recent gen- 
eral strikes, from the Belgian strike of 1913, which sought to 
gain universal suffrage and the abolition of plural voting, to 
the "June Days" strike against the Communist government in 
East Germany in 1953. These are political strikes, either work 
stoppages to gain a defined political end, or demonstrations 
arising more or less spontaneously out of political discontent. 
In only one of them, is there an articulated and developed 
theory of non-violence. In several, elements of violence creep 
in, either because of a lack of acquaintance with the theory 
of non-violence and an insufficiency of determination, or be- 
cause of extreme and unlooked-for provocation. 

It cannot be concluded, from these examples, that the gen- 
eral strike is necessarily either non-violent or successful. It 
does seem possible, however, given proper leadership trained 
in the theory and practice of non-violent resistance, to reduce 
the element of violence to very small proportions. Much, of 
course, depends upon the context in which the strike is em- 
ployed, the strikers' firmness and willingness to suffer, the de- 
gree of sympathy among the general public, and the nature of 
the goal. It has been suggested that strikes conducted for rela- 
tively simple and understandable goals are, other things being 
equal, most likely to achieve success. 

But because many general strikes appear to have been either 
unsuccessful or tinged with violence is no reason for the stu- 
dent of non-violence to discard them. Potentially they con- 
stitute one of the most effective means for developing what 
C. M. Case called "non-violent coercion," even though before 
they can be fully effective, many more strike leaders must 
evolve principled theories of non-violence. 


This selection is reprinted from Communism and the Gen- 
eral Strike, by Wilfred H. Crook, pp. 210-19, 236-40, 265- 
68, 270-71, and 354-56, published in 1960 by the Shoe String 


Belgian labor thoroughly learned the lessons of the previous 
general strikes. The strike of 1913, while not as complete as 
the British one, because none of the transport workers took 
part, was far more impressive than that of 1902. In 1913 the 
strike was prepared with great care as to resources and the 
preservation of order; the number of trades involved was 
larger, and the cooperation of the Flemish workers was 
marked. Strict discipline held from start to finish. While its 
immediate political effect was not startling, it was in no wise 
the defeat of 1902. 

A sympathetic writer on Belgium wrote of the segregation 
of Catholics and Socialists: "Thus in one town there will be a 
Catholic, a Liberal and a Socialist trade union, a Catholic, a 
Liberal, and a Socialist cooperative bakery, a Catholic, a Lib- 
eral and a Socialist thrift society, each catering for similar peo- 
ple, but each confining its attentions to members of its own po- 
litical party. The separation extends to cafes, gymnasia, choral, 
temperance, and literary societies; indeed it cuts right through 
life." 3 Before the electoral campaign of 1912 there was a good 
deal of mutual logrolling by Liberal and Socialist candidates, 
with a common plank in both platforms of universal suffrage 
at twenty-five and abolition of the plural vote. The Walloon 
districts returned a large majority of Liberals and Socialists, 
but the rural districts continued the Catholic Party majority. 
The middle class, disturbed at the possibility of defeat of the 
government, swung to its support, to the surprise and anger of 

There followed a mad explosion of rage by the workers, 
particularly in the Walloon districts. Workers went on strike 
spontaneously. The Socialist leaders did not attempt to stop it 
immediately, but tried to play for time. The government did 
not hesitate to use pitiless methods of repression. The General 
Council of the Labor party went into the provinces to calm the 
people. The militants of their party brought fierce pressure to 
bear upon them for an instant general strike. The Council ulti- 
mately convinced the workers— for a while. When the Party 

3 B. Seebohm Rowntree, Land and Labour; Lessons from Bel- 
gium (London: Macmillan, 1910), as quoted in R. C. K. Ensor, 
Belgium (London: Williams & Norgate, 1915), p. 171. 


Congress met it was found that 1,500 out of 1,584 delegates 
had been given a mandate to vote for a general strike. 4 

A special national committee was formed for "Universal 
Suffrage and the General Strike," which included the Labor 
party's General Council, the Trade Union Commission, the 
Federation of Cooperatives, and the national federation of 
crafts. Thus the National Committee symbolized all aspects of 
the labor movement. Its task was to prepare for the general 
strike, and to call it when the time appeared fitting. The Com- 
mittee was to prepare for a six-week stoppage involving half a 
million workers. The changed emphasis on the strike this time 
was to be its peacefulness. When the House reassembled in 
November, Vandervelde, in the name of the Socialists, gave 
notice of revision of the franchise. Not until January, 1913, 
was the motion debated, and then the Prime Minister refused 
to consider the motion while under the threat of a general 
strike, even though it had not been called. Not until the resolu- 
tion for revision had been defeated by ninety-nine votes to 
eighty-three did the National Committee decree a general 
strike, with the date fixed for April 14, leaving ample time for 
negotiation. What perilously approached a subsequent double- 
crossing by the government led to the calling of a special con- 
gress of the Socialist party and a determined resolve to stand 
by the date fixed. 5 

The structure evolved for the conduct of a long but peaceful 
strike consisted of four vital commissions: Propaganda, fi- 
nances, food, and the evacuation of the strikers' children. The 
most important principle upon which the campaign was organ- 
ized was centralization of propaganda, but decentralization of 
financial responsibility. But for this strong central control of 
propaganda, the "young guard" of the Socialists might easily 
have run away with the movement and have ended in yet an- 
other violent strike. Once the struggle started, however, the 
need for financial resources would be greater than any central 
body could meet, unless the districts had for some time raised 
their own local and regional funds. The idea was emphasized 
that the workers must not jeopardize the strike funds reserved 
for economic strikes. Speakers were to bring home to their 
audiences that without electoral justice economic justice was 
impossible, since all the workers' efforts for material improve- 
ment ran foul of hostile legislation. To be a success, the gen- 
eral strike must be both formidable and peaceful. "Formida- 
ble" implied around half a million strikers. "Peaceful" meant 

4 Emile Vandervelde, La greve generate en Belgique (Paris: F. 
Alcan, 1914), pp. 94-97. 

5 E. Mahaim, "The General Strike in Belgium," Economics 
Journal, June 1913. 


the avoidance of all sabotage or attacks on the liberty to work. 
Before Parliament met in November, literally thousands of 
meetings had been held, millions of leaflets had been distrib- 
uted. General strike stamps, buttons and songs were common- 

The Propaganda Commission appealed to Catholics and 
rural workers, as well as to their own group of organized 
labor, but the fact that the "rural vote was the plural vote" 
told against these efforts. The country folk who worked in the 
cities were more affected than the farm workers, and it was 
through them that the Commission was able to reach even the 
rural spots. Attempts to convert the industrial middle class did 
not get very far, though a few individual employers made do- 
nations to the fund. For small retail business a good deal of 
the psychology of fear was used. It was hinted that, since the 
workers were saving for the strike, small businesses would 
inevitably go bankrupt in large numbers unless they threw 
their efforts into the persuasion of the government to yield 
universal suffrage without a general strike. 

Space forbids any detailed description of the manner in 
which the Propaganda Commission proceeded to rouse inter- 
est among public employees, despite grave warnings that such 
employees would be immediately replaced if they deserted 
their posts. The hardest job before the Commission was to im- 
press on the workers the non-violent aspect of the struggle. "A 
general strike of several weeks cannot remain peaceful," said 
one of the leaders of manual workers. Yet Vandervelde, top 
Socialist leader, remained convinced that such a phenomenon 
as a peaceful general strike was possible. He gained his as- 
surance from the experience of the Swedish strike of 1909, 
forgetting that that strike was defeated. It was something 
smacking of genius which suggested that the younger and 
more militant Socialists be called upon to play the part of 
Labor Police, with the prime task of keeping order in the 

The Commission on Finance had a huge task of raising 
funds for the ten months of propaganda, and for the strike 
period when nearly half a million strikers would have to be 
kept alive, only a third of whom would be members of any 
union. There was no plan of providing strike pay in the actual 
strike, but rather the feeding of the poorest by community 
meals for them or for their children. Further relief was 
planned in the scheme for sending strikers' children into the 
country districts or to sympathizers in other lands. These two 
tasks were the specific duty of the last two Commissions. They 

c Cyrille van Overbergh, La greve generate (Brussels: Misch et 
Thron, 1913), pp. 56-57. 


found it easier to get homes for the children than they did to 
persuade the parents to let the children go and thus ease the 
drain on the strike funds. 7 

Public Opinion 

As the day of the general strike drew near, 

An intense and widespread uneasiness made itself felt 
throughout a great portion of the population, especially 
in the large towns and the industrial districts. Catastro- 
phes, violence, and terrorism were predicted by some; 
others were sure that the strike would be a miserable 
failure; all, whether openly or secretly, took elaborate 
precautions. There was not a middle-class housewife but 
laid in a stock of coal and provisions, and many supplied 
themselves out of all proportion to the danger. In fact 
there was a very extraordinary panic before the event. 8 

The Catholic press and the experience of former years gave 
strong reason for these fears of violence. Now that the Liber- 
als and Socialists were working together for suffrage, people 
began to whisper of civil war, even of the disloyalty of the 
troops. The Catholics, the Catholic unions, and the manufac- 
turers were hostile to the general strike method, and the "yel- 
low" (Catholic) unions did their utmost to increase their num- 
bers. As these unions counted on some hundred thousand 
members, their influence was considerable. 9 

The state and the municipalities and most of the manufac- 
turers gave warning to their employees that joining the strike 
would mean instant and permanent dismissal. Simultaneously 
there was a tremendous preparation of armed force. The sol- 
diers were placed where there was not much expectation of 
trouble, and the gendarmerie in the more densely populated 
areas. 10 As the fateful day approached, the press began to 
write of the "Strike against the State," and to predict the im- 
mediate arrest of the National Committee and the seizure of 
all strike funds. 

In contrast to all these rumors of class struggle there was 
growing assurance and enthusiasm among the Socialist trade 
unionists. Only the leaders were anxious. In spite of all care 
and constant exhortation, would the ranks break out into vio- 
lence? At a great demonstration in Mons the evening before 
the strike, Vandervelde said: "Tomorrow, by hundreds of 

7 Ibid., pp. 104-9. 

8 Mahaim, op. cit., pp. 294-97. 

9 Vandervelde, op. cit., p. 237. 

10 Ibid., p. 234 ff.; Overbergh, op. cit., p. 



thousands, the workers will go on strike. You know I have not 
desired you to do it. But since it cannot be avoided, let it be 
peaceful and impressive. It is not Belgium that watches you, 
but all of Europe." 11 

The Political Strike Runs Its Course 

At its height the Belgian strike of 1913 claimed a "large 
third" of the industrial workers. The railway workers did not 
join the walkout, to the great disappointment of the Socialists, 
but the strike was sufficiently "general" to upset the national 
economy profoundly. From the start, order and discipline 
were shown to a remarkable degree. Workers left the factories 
in excellent order, cleaning and oiling their tools and machines 
so that there would be little delay when the time came to re- 
start industry. Further, this behavior showed that the strike 
was not against individual employers. In Hainault, the chief 
industrial province, 173,000 out of 204,000 quit work. The 
total figures for the nation were not kept by the government, 
which claimed that this was a political and not an economic 
strike, and that therefore the strikers were not eligible for out- 
of-work pay. Each side suspected the other as far as data on 
the numbers on strike were concerned. Vandervelde claims 
that at the peak some 450,000 were out. An anti-Socialist jour- 
nal, Le Correspondent, carried a list of strikers daily, and 
held that not more than 300,000 were out at the peak. Profes- 
sor Mahaim puts the figure at 300,000 at the outset of the 
strike and nearly 400,000 at the peak. 12 

Apart from the industrial area known as the Black Country, 
the life of the great cities functioned as usual, and the strike 
was barely visible. Yet it was felt. Stores were open, taxis and 
tramways ran, but business was poor. Salesmen and business- 
men stayed home, tourists followed their example, and the 
workers had nothing to spend. Shipowners and business firms 
diverted many ships to Rotterdam and elsewhere. At the port 
of Antwerp a large number of workers quit work, but their 
places were filled by country folk under pressure from their 
priests. 13 The energetic action of the five hundred labor po- 
lice who patrolled the docks continuously, alert to prevent vio- 
lence against the "yellow unions," probably had much to do 
with the fact that no disturbances occurred. 14 

11 Overbergh, op. cit., pp. 149, 151. 

12 Ibid., p. 154; Mahaim, loc. cit.; The Times, London, April 21, 

13 Overbergh, op. cit., p. 176 ff. 

14 Vandervelde, op. cit., p. 246. 


Great efforts were made to stop the press, even the Socialist 
papers (with the exception of the official strike bulletins put 
out by the National Committee). The first ballot of the Typo- 
graphical union was against joining the strike, but four days 
after the strike started the vote in favor of striking was over- 
whelming. When this happened, the strike bulletin had to be 
printed in France. Six hundred Typographical union men 
struck in Brussels, but, barring the Liberal and Socialist pa- 
pers, most of the press got through in one way or another. 15 

The Great Silence 

Everyone outside the Labor party expected violence. The 
aspect of the great strike that most impressed the public and 
the foreign correspondents was the profound quiet and calm 
discipline with which the strike ran its course. The London 
Times correspondent kept his daily reports harping on the 
amazing quiet and order of the strike. At the end he could still 
wire: "The Government failed to believe that their opponents 
could control the elements for the passive coercion with which 
they were threatened. These opponents have demonstrated 
their ability." 16 True, armed forces were everywhere. The 
assembly of more than a few persons in front of any Catholic 
cooperative was forbidden. Rail stations and tracks were 
guarded. On the first day of the strike soldiers were present at 
six in the morning at all factories and workshops. The labor 
police were everywhere— at fetes, conferences or factory gates. 
Each member of the "force" carried his identity card, to be 
shown whenever intervention became necessary. No parades 
were permitted without the express sanction of the regular 
trade union committee. 17 

The workers themselves walked around town, looked into 
store windows, slept late, and went to bed early. They culti- 
vated their gardens. They visited the local Maison du Peuple 
to read the press or hear the news from the local control com- 
mittees. Many visited their parents in other towns. Others 
took part in organized group visits to museums and galleries, 
or attended labor lectures. Metal workers obtained work in 
France and sent back part of their earnings to the strike fund. 
The militants occupied themselves with running the soup 
kitchens, acting as strike police, distributing strike cards, or 
aiding the Propaganda Commission. 18 

15 Overbergh, op. cit., p. 173. 

™The Times, London, April 15, 21, 25, 1913. 

17 Overbergh, op. cit., pp. 160-66. 

18 Ibid., pp. 167-69, 182-89. 


Victory or Defeat? 

The general strike began on Monday, April 14. Two days 
later, Parliament reassembled and was immediately concerned 
wholly with the strike. A Liberal deputy moved a resolution in 
which the Prime Minister's promise of a Commission to con- 
sider municipal and provincial franchise was expanded to in- 
clude the Parliamentary vote. This resolution was passed by 
unanimous vote, and an amending paragraph condemning the 
general strike method was carried by a three-to-one vote. The 
National Committee for the Suffrage and the General Strike 
proposed a resolution of immediate return to work, in view 
of the achievement of the Parliamentary debate and motion. 
This proposal was accepted after a long, and at times bitter, 
discussion. 19 The Masson Resolution in the Belgian Parlia- 
ment did not give complete satisfaction to the strikers. It was a 
partial victory, the first decisive step towards a revision of the 
franchise. The Liberal press claimed that the Prime Minister 
had yielded in the strike what he had refused to yield before- 
hand—the consideration by the Commission of Parliamentary 
suffrage as well as local and provincial. "Perhaps," wrote the 
London Times reporter, "we may concede that the strike has 
impressed the extreme wing of the Catholic Party, and thus at 
any rate . . . hastened the proposed inquiry into the electoral 
system. . . ." 20 

Impartial Belgian observers could agree that the Labor 
party had enhanced its reputation and given evidence of a re- 
markable control over the working population, inasmuch as, 
from start to finish, the strike remained completely peaceable. 
Not, however, until the first World War had ended did the 
vote at twenty-one years, without the plural vote, actually be- 
come the law of the land. Whether it was the war or the gen- 
eral strike, Belgian union membership of the non-Catholic 

19 The Resolution proposed follows: 

( 1 ) That the strike had . . . proved the power and solidarity 
of the working class. 

(2) That the strike had placed before the public in the most 
pressing manner the question of universal suffrage. 

(3) That the strike had compelled discussion of the question 
in Parliament for more than a week, and had won a precise 
statement of intention from the Government leader as to the 
establishment of an electoral commission. That in view of 
these achievements the National Committee would propose to 
Congress the immediate resumption of work. Overbergh, op. 
cit.. pp. 221-23. 

20 The Times, London, April 28, 1913. 


type jumped from 120,000 to 600,000 between 1913 and 

What of the general strike and its future, after this Belgian 
experience? Professor Mahaim, not a Socialist, predicted that 
"the temptation to repeat this kind of experiment will be very 
strong." It should be no surprise, therefore, to the reader to 
learn that in the nineteen-fifties two more Belgian political 
general strikes were called, one to resist the return to Belgium 
of King Leopold III after World War II, and the other to set 
lower limits to an existing law on compulsory military service. 


Intense feeling was roused in Belgium after World War II 
over the issue of whether the nation should take back its king, 
Leopold III, who had ordered the Belgians to surrender to the 
Nazis, and had himself been taken prisoner within eighteen 
days of the German attack on Belgium. The Cabinet of Hu- 
bert Pierlot, Catholic, escaped to Britain and formed a Bel- 
gium-in-exile government in London. Large numbers of 
workers feared Leopold's wartime friendship with Nazis. En- 
thusiasts of the Belgian underground looked upon Leopold as 
a traitor to his country and to the veterans who had in so many 
cases been held in prison camps (while their king was "im- 
prisoned" in a Nazi mansion). This opposition of the non- 
Catholic organized workers in Belgium was in no sense hos- 
tility to a king, as was shown when Paul Spaak, one-time 
Socialist Premier, wrote an open letter to Leopold III, adjur- 
ing him to abdicate and let his nineteen-year-old son, Bau- 
douin, take his place. Spaak warned Leopold that his return 
to Belgium would be opposed by organized labor even to the 
point of a general strike. 21 

The Socialists, powerful in Brussels and Wallonia and the 
main industrial centers, felt that Leopold had betrayed his 
country by his "friendly sojourn" with notorious Nazi leaders 
during the Nazi occupation of Belgium. They believed him to 
represent in his thought the fascist philosophy (corporatisme) , 
and they feared that he would rule his country as a dictator. 
To solve the dispute the Catholic government in office resorted 
to a referendum on Leopold's return. Leopold had said that he 
would abdicate if the referendum gave him less than 55 per 
cent. In fact it gave him an overall vote of 57 per cent. Catho- 
lic Flanders had given him 70 per cent of the vote, but Brus- 
sels and Wallonia only 42 per cent to 48 per cent. The Social- 
ists contended that they had not sought the referendum; that it 
had been the act of Leopold and the government, but that 

21 Paris Herald Tribune, March 22, 1950. 


since it had been taken it was evident that Leopold could not 
possibly bring his nation to a sense of unity. 22 

Scathing comment on a "57 per cent king" was common in 
the labor press and Socialist speeches. The Belgian Federation 
of Labor, through its weekly organ Syndicats, declared that 
the return of Leopold would signify the loss of democratic 
liberty, and would provoke one of the worst crises through 
which the nation had passed. It urged the workers to vote 
"no," lest all their progress, gained through a half century of 
union struggle, be nullified by a "reactionary clique which 
hides behind an 'elected' king." 23 On March 17, 1950, less 
than a week after the referendum figures were announced, 
some 300,000 Belgian workers walked off their jobs. These 
strikes were confined to anti-Leopold provinces such as Liege, 
Hainault, and Charleroi. In Mons the stoppage was complete 
in all branches of industry, including the public utilities. Strik- 
ers paraded with banners inscribed: "We'd rather starve than 
be ruled by a dictator." Belgium's largest iron and steel works 
was shut down, as also her only armaments plant. These 
"spontaneous" strikes were originally intended to last only 
twenty-four hours. In private, labor leaders admitted that the 
initiative had been taken by the Socialist party's Central Ac- 
tion Committee. 24 

On March 20 the press recorded the resignation of the Cabi- 
net. The protest strikes continued. It was made evident that 
they would be stepped up to the completeness of a general 
strike as a last resort. The Socialists emphasized that they 
were not cooperating with the Communists, who had taken no 
part. The Socialists feared "a clericalist Fascism a la Salazar 
under a 57 per cent King"— Salazar being Premier of Portu- 
gal. 25 Finally, on March 24, Belgium saw a full-fledged gen- 
eral strike, for twenty-four hours in industry and public util- 
ities, and for rail traffic while the railwaymen attended mass 
demonstrations in Brussels, Liege, Mons, Charleroi and La 
Louviere. In this strike nearly half a million workers were idle 
in French-speaking Wallonia, the industrial heart of the coun- 
try. In Brussels the "Christian Unions" (Catholic) made pos- 
sible a 10 per cent service in public transport. Even that was 
interfered with by University students. 20 It may be of interest 
to add that the abdication of King Leopold III did not actually 
take place until July, 1951, when his son Baudouin took his 

2 2 Paris Herald Tribune, March 18, 1950. 

23 Syndicats, March 4, 11, 1950. 

24 Paris Herald Tribune, March 18, 1950. 
2r ' Paris Herald Tribune, March 20, 1950. 

2,5 Paris Herald Tribune, March 25, 1950; New York Times, 
March 25, 1950. 




A matter of grave concern to all young male Belgians was 
the twenty-four month universal service requirement, in order 
to uphold Belgian responsibilities in connection with Euro- 
pean Defense agreements. The other five countries and Bel- 
gium were to meet in August, 1952, to decide upon a common 
length of service, since some were less than twenty-four 
months. In the meantime, demonstrations of young military 
trainees and young industrial workers were taking place in 
protest against the twenty-four month spell. 27 

Early in August the National Committee of the Belgian Fed- 
eration of Labor decreed a general strike of twenty-four hours 
for Saturday, August 9. For that day mass demonstrations 
were to be organized. The Federation of Labor pledged itself 
to mobilize all international union forces to achieve a common 
training period for all six nations involved. National defense, 
the Federation held, was not at issue, only the "useless, super- 
fluous months" of training. Workers' families must "sacrifice 
their young men to serve the stupid policy of a supercapitalist 
such as Van Zeeland." At the same time the Federation took 
a column in its organ Syndicats to warn its members against 
attempts of the Communists to take over the general strike, 
prolong it and make it indefinite. Strict discipline was called 
for, and obedience to no other group but the Federation of 
Labor. 28 

The Christian (Catholic) and Liberal trade unions de- 
nounced the strike as political in purpose. The stoppage was 
almost complete in metalworking plants, coal mines and other 
industry in Southern and Southeastern Belgium, but the rail- 
ways and 95 per cent of the public services functioned as 
usual. Despite pouring rain, large Socialist demonstrations oc- 
curred. A week later the government announced that militia- 
men would be sent on furlough after they had served twenty- 
one months. This brought the Belgian period of military train- 
ing into line with that of the Netherlands, which had the next 
longest training period to Belgium's. To this extent, then, it 
could be said that the strike served its purpose. 29 

The experience of Belgian labor in its efforts to wrest the 
universal (single) vote for all citizens from the conservative 
government, at the point of the general strike weapon, led nat- 
urally enough to its further use many decades later to prevent 
an unpopular king from becoming a dictator, and still more 

27 New York Times, August 10, 1952. 

28 Syndicats, August 9, 1952. 

29 Le Peuple, August 11, 1950; New York Times, Auuust 10, 14, 


recently to the modification of the long twenty-four month 
military training stint required of all Belgian males. Only by a 
stretch of the meaning of the word "revolutionary" could the 
last three Belgian general strikes be considered anything other 
than political. 


There are not many nations which, like Belgium, offer a 
long history of the general strike used for political purposes. 
In most instances the strike aims involved have been complex. 
This is particularly true of France and Italy. . . . This was 
true of France's successful general strike of February 12, 
1934. It was equally true of the Kapp-Putsch in Germany in 
1920. ... 


Critics may say that the general strike which defeated the 
reactionary effort to recapture the German government in 
1920 was a counter-revolutionary rather than a political strike. 
The writer merely points out that the mass of the strikers did 
not desire their Social Democrat government overthrown by 
the Kapp-Putsch, and they fought to save it with this labor 
weapon. With this as their aim it was a political, rather than 
an economic or a revolutionary strike. This is clear, inasmuch 
as more than one general strike had been attempted in Ger- 
many between 1918 and 1920, to bring into power a left- 
wing government, by pro-Soviet leaders such as Karl Lieb- 
knecht, Rosa Luxemburg, and the Spartacists. In each case 
the effort had been prevented or defeated. The Spartacist 
strikes were revolutionary, whereas the strike against Kapp 
and his Baltic Brigades was primarily political. 

The German reactionaries in politics and military life had 
learned little from World War I or the subsequent revolution. 
Their contempt for the German working class made it easy for 
them to look upon the workers and their Social Democratic 
party, signatories to the hated peace treaty, as traitors to Ger- 
many. Discredited military leaders such as Ludendorff had 
escaped any penalty for their deeds. Such men were kept in 
the background, and a fanatical patriot, Wolfgang Kapp, born 
in New York State from German republican stock, was used 
as the immediate titular leader. The senior acting military 
member of the group was General von Ltittwitz, who had 
helped suppress the Spartacists in 1918-1919. 

30 In certain parts of this section the author has drawn heavily 
upon his book. The General Strike, published in 1931 by the Uni- 
versity of North Carolina Press, which is now out of print. 


The spark that set off the military explosion was the Allies' 
order that the Baltic troops should be disbanded. These were 
units formed of the "toughest fighting material brought by se- 
verity to a high pitch of internal discipline, but with habits of 
the most truculent militarism towards the public, acquired in 
their Baltic, Silesian, and anti-Bolshevist campaigns." 31 These 
"Baltic" Brigades were in camp within easy march of Berlin. 
On March 10, 1920, General von Luttwitz visited President 
Ebert to present a virtual ultimatum with regard to the Ger- 
man military program. For one thing, the General was em- 
phatic that there should be no disbanding and no diminution of 
officers' salaries or privileges. He demanded new elections for 
the Reichstag, a plebiscite for election of the President, and a 
Cabinet of experts. Gustav Noske, who had quelled the "revo- 
lution" in the German naval bases at the end of World War I, 
warned von Luttwitz that, if orders of the government were 
disobeyed and military force were used against the Republic, 
the government would declare a general strike. This had little 
effect on the General, and he was shortly afterward removed 
from his office as head of the Berlin Reichswehr. 32 

In the meantime a warrant was out for the arrest of Dr. 
Kapp and his chief associates, but the police force was so rid- 
dled with Kappists that the execution of these warrants met 
with all kinds of interference. Friday, March 12, saw the 
Baltic Brigades start their march on Berlin. The Ebert govern- 
ment, learning that the Berlin Reichswehr was on Kapp's side, 
made a rapid move to Dresden and then to Stuttgart, where it 
issued an emergency call for an immediate meeting of the Na- 
tional Assembly. At the same time a call went out for a gen- 
eral strike throughout Germany against the Kapp rebels. The 
proclamation declared: "There is but one means to prevent 
the return of Wilhelm II; the paralysis of all economic life. 
Not a hand must stir, not a worker give aid to the military dic- 
tatorship. General Strike all along the line." 33 Two facts show 
the concern which the people of Germany felt for the con- 
tinuance of their existing government. The first was the amaz- 
ing unity of support given the strike by non-Socialist parties of 
the Center and the "Democrats." This meant that the Catholic 
trade unions of the Rhineland and the so-called "yellow" un- 
ions of the "Democrats" were, for once, united in purpose 
with the two Socialist parties. The Communists acted with the 

31 H. G. Daniels, The Rise of the German Republic (New York: 
Scribner, 1928), pp. 124-31. 

32 Gustav Noske, Von Kiel bis Kapp (Berlin, 1920), p. 207. 

33 Karl Brammer, Funf Tage Militardiktatur (Berlin, 1920), p. 
65; The Times, London, March 15, 1920. 


others, but their purpose was questionable. 34 The second most 
significant fact was the surprising act of Carl Legien, head of 
the German Federation of Labor, famous for his earlier con- 
demnation of the general strike weapon as "General strike, 
general nonsense." He appeared to recognize in this present 
crisis that all labor organization was at stake, and so issued a 
call for a general strike from the side of the trade unions. Un- 
like the government, Legien remained in Berlin, went under- 
ground, and from his hiding place directed the struggle. When 
the strike ended in Kapp's defeat, it was Legien as much as any 
who demanded punishment of the "Rebels." 35 Ruth Fischer 
outlined the crisis: 

This was perhaps the most complete political general 
strike in a modern industrial country. German economy 
was brought to a standstill. From one hour to the next no 
train ran, there was no gas, no electricity, only a limited 
water supply. The rebels had excellent artillery and ma- 
chine guns, airplanes, well-trained and reliable troops, a 
well-conceived strategic plan for the conquest of Ger- 
many. But against the power of organized labor they 
were paralyzed; no army can function in a vacuum. 36 

Even before the official strike call had reached the workers, 
thousands had spontaneously ceased work. By Sunday, March 
14, the general walkout was in full swing. Only the telephones 
remained in service. The attempt to overawe the working pop- 
ulation by an overwhelming display of military might failed 
dismally. A split in the temporary Kapp cabinet on whether to 
negotiate with the workers' committees or to shoot the ring- 
leaders was decided in favor of the latter. Clashes took place 
between the Technical Emergency Corps and the working pop- 
ulation as the former went to and from their work in the water 
and light plants. The military were stoned in many districts, 
and replied with rifle fire, killing many. 37 

Kapp now sought a compromise with Ebert, including a 
common denunciation of the devastating general strike. Luck- 
ily for the German workers, Ebert was adamant in refusing 
even to consider such a compromise. In districts where there 
were no military forces Communists had already set up local 
"soviets." The food supply was hourly more precarious. On 
Wednesday, March 17, Wolfgang Kapp resigned and igno- 

34 Berlin Vorwdrts, March 15, 1920. 

35 Ruth Fischer, Stalin and German Communism (Harvard Uni- 
versity Press, 1948), p. 124. 

36 Ibid., p. 123. By permission. 

37 Berliner Tageblatt, March 24, 1920; Karl Brammer, op. cit., 
p. 22. 


miniously fled to Sweden. Von Luttwitz clung to his post. 
Kapp gave as his reason for flight the need for absolute union 
of all Germans against the "annihilating danger of Bolshe- 
vism." 38 Tension grew as rebel troops remained in command 
of Berlin and the strike was in no wise abated. Finally the 
Kapp government surrendered. Von Seeckt took over the 
Reichswehr and ordered the Baltic Brigades to withdraw im- 
mediately from Berlin. As they marched sullenly out they were 
treated to shrill and contemptuous whistles of the striking 
workers. Acting under orders, the rear guard opened fire at 
point-blank range, killing several workers. 

The brunt of the strike fell on the workers. Casualties were 
almost as severe as in a battle; privation was great to all. When 
the Kappists surrendered there were barely four days' supplies 
of food left in Berlin. Vice Chancellor Schiffer, who had been 
left behind by Ebert as a kind of liaison Minister, had an- 
nounced the surrender of the Kappists, and at the same time, 
on March 18, had called upon the German people to resume 
work. With the Kapp-Putsch defeated, at least for the mo- 
ment, the workers who had borne the burden of the conflict 
rather naturally refused to return to work until the Ebert gov- 
ernment had given them more definite evidence of its attitude 
towards the reactionary section of the nation. On Saturday, 
March 20, Legien announced that an agreement had been 
reached with the Ebert government that would permit the 
workers to call off the strike. 39 Dissatisfaction followed the 
publication of the settlement, and chaos reigned on the follow- 
ing Monday. Services were disorganized; the food supply was 
low; queues forming outside the bakers' and butchers' shops 
augured food riots. 

The strike was finally and definitely called off on Monday at 
midnight, when the industrial councils and the shop stewards 
joined with the trade unions in an agreement with the govern- 

38 Karl Brammer, op. cit., p. 36; The Times, London, March 18, 
19, 1920. 

39 The settlement terms included: 

Nomination of state and Prussian cabinets by trade unions 
and the parties. Punishment of Kappist leaders. . . . 

Framing of new social laws giving more rights ... to civil 

Socialization of all industries ripe for it. . . . 

Punishment of speculation in foodstuffs. Confiscation of ag- 
ricultural products and of land improperly cultivated. 

Dissolution of the Reichswehr. . . . 

Resignation of Noske. 

See The Times, London, March 22, 1920; Vorwarts, March 
22, 1920. 


ment. A further statement to this effect was issued by Legien, 
on the condition that if the government failed to keep its 
pledges the general strike would be resumed. A supplementary 
agreement included withdrawal of the troops, an end to the 
state of siege, a pledge that armed workers would not be at- 
tacked, and that negotiations would ensue to get workers in- 
corporated in the Sicherheitswehr of Prussia. 

In fact, the end was tragic. Where workers had retired from 
their strongholds as soon as the agreements with the Ebert 
government had been reached, the government troops' officers 
instituted a house-to-house search for arms, removed the 
workers' leaders, and in certain cases executed them after 
summary court-martial. The government granted to von 
Seeckt unlimited power to use the military court throughout 
the country. Yet when Kapp was in power Major-General von 
Seeckt had made no move to go to the aid of the Ebert gov- 
ernment. "The striking workers and those who had risen in 
armed resistance had at a stroke become 'Spartacists' and 
'Communists' who were striving for a Bolshevik dictatorship 
and therefore had to be crushed with a most brutal disre- 
gard." 40 In brief, the punishment of the Kappists became a 
farce. The Baltic Brigades were untouched. The penalty paid 
by the unhappy strikers who caused the failure of the Kapp- 
Putsch was bitter and unforgettable. It is a dangerous game 
for the workers to try to save their government by the general 
strike weapon, even if it succeeds. 


Without any apparent warning to West or East Germany in 
1953 a wild revolt of workers and middle class against the 
Grotewohl (Communist) government of East Germany broke 
out in East Berlin and throughout most of the other industrial 
centers and cities. Allied Intelligence, the Socialist Union party 
(East German Communist party), the Communist govern- 
ment, and the Soviet Occupation forces— one and all appear to 
have agreed on one thing, that the outbreak was completely 
unexpected. 41 This fact does not stand in the way of post facto 
search for the reasons for the outbreak of June 17, 1953. 

For eight years the eighteen million population of East Ger- 
many had endured Russian occupation and Communist con- 
trol. Occasional outbursts of sabotage had been the only overt 
form of protest against the oppression and confiscation carried 

40 Heinrich Strobel, Die deutsche Revolution, 4th ed. (Berlin: 
Der Firn, 1922), p. 192; The Times, London, March 29, 30, 1920. 

41 "After the Revolt," Manchester Guardian Weekly, August 27, 


on by the puppet regime under the guns of Soviet Russia. Es- 
sential causes of the explosion can be suggested: Religious 
persecution of ministers, churches and church youth groups 
had reached a dangerous point, with Communist "Free Ger- 
man Youth" as one of the instruments of persecution. A sec- 
ond factor was the deterioration of the already intolerable 
food situation, fats and meat having become almost unobtain- 
able, together with shortages of bread and potatoes. Further- 
more, the Grotewohl government was fanatically pushing the 
final control over industry and agriculture, with the seizure 
of private businesses and co-operatives. These steps raised 
middle-class ire and brought despair to the farmers, who were 
fleeing to West Germany in great numbers. The igniting spark, 
however, was the government's call for immediate, higher 
productivity, at lower pay, from the factory workers of East 
Germany. This drive for lower overhead costs got under way 
in May, 1953, with specious newspaper items alleging that 
workers themselves had suggested this tightening up of the 
work "norms." At this juncture Mr. Semeonov, Ambassador 
to East Germany from Soviet Russia, and Soviet High Com- 
missioner, took over absolute control of Eastern Germany. 
Disliking the effects of the steps already described, Semeonov 
appears to have inspired the Grotewohl government's "con- 
fession of error" and the reversal of its policy, with the sole 
exception of the raised "norms" of production. A week before 
the revolt, Grotewohl met the Church leaders and announced 
important concessions. Benefits to the middle class and the 
farmers were also pledged, pnly the workers were left with no 
share in the handout, but with a ten per cent wage cut. 42 

East German workers were experienced in the trick of 
"norms": refinements of the "speed-up" granted to a worker 
who introduced an improvement which would raise the pro- 
duction norm. Four months at the old norm were his reward, 
while his fellows had to face pay cuts or comply with the new 
norm. Spontaneous and open resistance resulted. Workers 
unanimously rejected the new norm contracts. Others in large 
numbers absented themselves from their jobs. The arrest of 
protesting miners led to riots and the death and injury of sev- 
eral of the People's Police. The Soviet military were called 
into one plant. 43 These events occurred in 1951-52, so that 
the Grotewohl government could hardly claim to have been 

42 Terrance Prittie, "The Rising of June 17," Manchester Guard- 
ian Weekly, July 2, 16, 1953; Mark Arnold-Forster, "The June 17 
Rising: Recoil of the Lies," Manchester Guardian Weekly, July 30, 

43 Theodore Lit, "Unions in Democratic and Soviet Germany," 
Monthly Labor Review, January 1953, p. 6ff. 


completely unaware of what their fanatical pressure for pro- 
duction would do to the East German workers. 

(6) HAITI, 1956-57 

Haiti in 1956-57 presented an unusual aspect of the gen- 
eral strike. This Negro nation of the Caribbean came near to 
civil war at that time over the issue which of ten candidates 
should be elected President. Business men led at least three 
general strikes, unseating temporarily a military dictatorship. 
The Republic of Haiti is the only French-speaking country in 
Latin America, and with the Dominican Republic constitutes 
the island of Haiti. On December 6, 1956, General Paul Mag- 
loire resigned as provisional Chief of State under pressure of 
a nation-wide general strike, which was in protest against his 
assumption of dictatorial powers. That only the army could 
meet the terrorism rife on the island was his excuse. 44 The 
rising against Magloire came after three days of general strike 
in which most union labor quit, and the majority of stores, 
plants, and offices closed. The Lawyers Association ceased 
from pleading cases in court. "The people generally expressed 
surprise at the effectiveness of the general strike as a substitute 
for the violence usually employed to oust an unpopular Chief 
of State." 45 

(7) GOLD COAST, 1949 

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the general strike in 
Africa is the relatively few actually recorded. In fact, however, 
it should be recognized how predominantly rural are all but 
the Northern and Southernmost portions of Africa. Usually 
one connects the general strike with some degree of industri- 
alism. In the case of the Gold Coast, industry on any large 
scale is still in the future. Yet the main money crop, cocoa, 
with a handful of American or British educated Negro lead- 
ers, together are likely to yield an intensely interesting experi- 
ment in the grafting of modern democracy upon the ancient 
stem of tribal life and Juju. Barely 10 per cent of the popula- 
tion are literate; so the modern, young political leaders, such 
as Kwame Nkrumah, intentionally live much more closely to 
their people than did the old white and native officials of the 
earlier British colonial days. 

Unlike most one-crop colonial territories, the Gold Coast 
has, under Nkrumah, been grimly saving the necessary capi- 

44 United Press wire, December 12, 1956; New York Times, De- 
cember 13, 1956. 

40 Ibid. By permission. 


tal that can modernize the country and bring to its people a 
healthier and perhaps more satisfying life. With a population 
almost 100 per cent Negro, modern political psychology and 
ancient tribal tradition have to be mingled with care and 
knowledge to achieve more than temporary progress. How 
successful Nkrumah has been in this tightrope walking can 
be seen in the story of the Gold Coast general strike of 1949. 

Born over forty-five years ago on the Gold Coast, son of a 
goldsmith and a storekeeper, Nkrumah was educated in Ro- 
man Catholic mission schools, in Achimota College and then 
at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, at the University of 
Pennsylvania and in London, England. Dr. Nkrumah returned 
to the Gold Coast late in 1947, to take part in the development 
of the U.G.C.C. (United Gold Coast Convention). Dr. 
Nkrumah found himself at odds with many of his U.G.C.C. 
colleagues, chiefly over the fact that the broadest basis of suf- 
frage was not proposed, because, said the older leaders, the 
people were not yet ready for it. 

A struggle with foreign store owners over the rising prices 
of the few goods the Gold Coast natives desired ended with 
Negro veterans being killed by the police. This roused such 
anger along the Gold Coast that much rioting occurred, and 
looting in the larger stores. The U.G.C.C. leaders petitioned 
London by cable to appoint a Commission of Inquiry. This 
was done by the British government, but the Gold Coast Gov- 
ernor arrested the leaders, and banished them to Northern 
territories, where they were separately incarcerated. When 
the Watson Commission sat, the imprisoned leaders were re- 
leased to give evidence. The Commission reported that the old 
Constitution was outmoded. When the Governor appointed a 
constitutional committee of forty Africans, old and upper-class 
chiefs were chosen, and the younger leaders ignored. Dr. 
Nkrumah formed a youth committee and had them travel 
throughout the nation to rouse interest in universal suffrage, a 
fully elected legislature, and a representative cabinet. By this 
time a split had developed in the U.G.C.C. and a new organi- 
zation, the Convention Peoples' party (C.P.P.) was estab- 
lished by Dr. Nkrumah with the purpose of starting a Gold 
Coast general strike. It was not so termed, but was referred 
to as "positive action based on non-violence," and was much 
akin to Gandhi's "civil disobedience" in Natal in 1913 and 
British India in 1930-31. 

After some considerable negotiation between the govern- 
ment and Nkrumah, country-wide civil disobedience started 
on January 8, 1949. No one worked; buses and trucks were 
silent. Continuance of water, electricity and health services 
was agreed upon by the C.P.P. leaders. For twenty-one days 
this continued. Then Nkrumah and his leading colleagues were 


charged with sedition and imprisoned. The 1951 election for 
the Legislative Assembly gave Nkrumah thirty-five seats out 
of the thirty-eight involved. Thus the prisoner became the head 
of a dominant party, and ultimately the Premier of the Gold 
Coast. Not many general strikes in other parts of the world 
have contributed to such a reversal of power. 40 

On March 6, 1957, the Gold Coast became the independent 
nation of Ghana within the British Commonwealth. Ahead are 
grave problems of unity, since the Ashanti Province has an 
opposition party (N.L.M.— National Liberation Movement) 
with extreme states' rights theories. It is Nkrumah's task to 
unify the new nation of Ghana without dictatorship or civil 
war, and time may show that the general strike is a weapon 
relatively preferable to civil war. 47 

40 Richard Wright, Black Power (New York: Harper, 1954), 
Chap. XI; John Gunther, Inside Africa (New York: Harper, 1955), 
p. 804, and Collier's, May 28, 1954; Barbara Ward, "An Answer to 
the Challenge of Africa," New York Times, October 31, 1954. 

47 "Morning After in Ghana," Manchester Guardian Weekly, 
March 21, 1957; William Clark, "Africans Face a Rugged Task," 
Washington Post, February 22, 1957. 

13. Arthur Griffith: 

The establishment of the Austro-Hungarian federation in 
1867 has been cited by many as an excellent example of suc- 
cessful non-violent resistance in politics. Austrian-Hungarian 
relations in the middle of the nineteenth century were very 
complicated and it is impossible here to go into all their rami- 
fications. In 1847, however, Hungary had been restive under 
Austrian rule and, under the leadership of Louis Kossuth, had 
demanded a greater measure of self-government. This the Aus- 
trians had refused, imprisoning Kossuth and other leaders. 

With the revolutionary fervor of 1848 abroad in Western 
Europe, however, Eastern Europe could not be preserved 
against a similar spirit. There were demonstrations in Vienna 
and Budapest; and the Austrian Emperor, bowing to popular 
clamor, granted certain of the Hungarian demands for self- 
rule. Shortly thereafter, however, the situation was clouded by 
the resistance of several national groups in Hungary— Slovaks, 
Rumanians, Croats, and Serbs— who objected to the centralized 
nature of the new Hungarian self-governing institutions. Those 
among the Hungarians who advocated military suppression of 
the nationalities raised an army and sought to overcome their 
resistance. But the Austrians intervened and occupied Buda- 
pest. Once more the struggle became one between the Aus- 
trians and Hungarians. It was under these circumstances that 
an Hungarian Republic was proclaimed (in April, 1849). 

The Hungarian national army now proceeded to conduct a 
military campaign against the Austrians, who then appealed to 
the Russians for help. In July of 1849, Russian troops entered 
Hungary and defeated the Hungarians. Kossuth, who had been 
instrumental in the military resurrection of Hungary, fled into 
exile abroad. Many Hungarian leaders who were unable to 
escape were executed by the Austrians, who instituted a regime 
of severe and violent repression. 

It was under these circumstances that the events related in 
our reading took place. After violent measures against the Aus- 
trians had failed, Hungarians began to explore non-violent 
power. Their leader was Francis Deak, a remarkable political 


figure whose confidence in the possibilities of passive resistance 
seemed never to wane. 1 With Hungary utterly powerless in a 
military sense and rule by law abolished under Austrian domi- 
nation, he advised his compatriots to offer no violence against 
Austrian agents but rather to refuse co-operation. They were 
to meet the tax-gatherer's demands with a polite but firm "no." 
They were to decline public positions. They were to demon- 
strate non-violently against Austrian rule and to ask for resto- 
ration of the Hungarian constitution. 

In our reading, Arthur Griffith describes in some detail just 
how Deak and his followers went about their tasks. The long 
campaign, which extended over a period of more than a dec- 
ade and a half, was filled with frustrations and disappoint- 
ments. Eventually, however, it was substantially successful: 
Hungary was restored to a status of self-government in 1867 
and was to participate jointly with Austria in a common parlia- 
ment for the control of external and general matters. The 
agreement was known as the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, 
or Ausgleich. 

The reader will note that passive resistance was not the only 
factor in producing this outcome. Austria during the sixties 
was having external difficulties— with Denmark and Prussia— 
and needed very much, therefore, to secure active Hungarian 
co-operation. When all this is admitted, however, the story of 
Deak and his campaign of non-violence remains an impressive 
one. Unfortunately, the Hungarians were not committed to 
non-violence on principle and some years later began to op- 
press their own subject nationalities. 

Our reading is excerpted from Arthur Griffith's The Resur- 
rection of Hungary: A Parallel for Ireland (Dublin: Whelan 
and Sons, 1918), pp. 1-68, with certain omissions. Griffith 
(1872-1922) was one of the great leaders of the Irish inde- 
pendence movement; and he saw in the non-violent movement 
of Hungary a model which he hoped his countrymen would 
emulate in their struggle with Britain. 

1 For a discussion of the internal political background of Deak's 
activities, see A. J. P. Taylor, The Habsburg Monarchy, 1890-1918 
(New York: Macmillan, 1942, rev. ed., 1949), Chaps. V to IX. Of 
Deak, Taylor remarks that "he was completely without ambition, 
except the ambition of seeing his country restored to freedom, and 
of a character so noble that in the last hundred years of Austrian 
history only the name of Masaryk is worthy to be placed beside 
that of Deak." (p. 118.) 



Francis Deak had been placed under arrest by the Austrians 
in an early stage of the war for declining to advise Kossuth 
and the members of the Hungarian Diet to unconditionally 
surrender. In the latter stage he had resided on his estate at 
Kehida. When the Hungarian flag had been trampled in the 
blood of its soldiers and Hungary lay prostrate, all her other 
leaders dead or in exile, Deak bethought himself it was time 
to sell his estate and move into town. So he sold his estate and 
moved up to town— to Pesth— and hired a bedroom and a sit- 
ting-room at the Queen of England Hotel, and walked about 
the streets, playing with children, giving alms to beggars, and 
conversing with all sorts and conditions of men. The Austrians 
regarded him doubtfully. "What did Deak sell his estate and 
come to Pesth for?" they asked each other. "Keep your eyes 
on him, my children," said the Austrian Prefect to the Austrian 

But although they kept as many eyes on him as Argus had, 
still they could find nothing in Deak's conduct to warrant his 
arrest. They had taken away Hungary's constitution, they had 
taken away even Hungary's name, yet they could not construe 
playing with children, giving to beggars, and talking with men 
and women, into treason, and that was all Deak did. Still the 
uneasiness and mistrust of the Austrians grew. "It would be a 
good thing," at length said one brilliant Austrian statesman, 
"to make Deak a Grand Justiciary. 2 This would console the 
Hungarian people." And they made the offer to Deak. "When 
my country's Constitution is acknowledged I shall consider 
your offer," replied Deak. "What Constitution?" asked the 
Austrians. "The Constitution of 1848," said Deak. 

"Deak wants the Constitution back," said the Austrians; 
"children cry for the moon." ... In Deak's little room in the 
Pesth hotel every night a few friends gathered who puffed 
tobacco and drank moderately of wine. They had no pass- 
words and no secrecy— they discoursed of Hungarian history, 
Hungarian literature, Hungarian industries, Hungarian eco- 
nomics, and the Hungarian Constitution, which they obstinately 
declined to oblige the Austrians by believing to be dead. "It is 
not dead, but sleepeth— owing to the illegal administering of a 
drug." Deak, who was a cheerful man, talked of the day when 
it would awaken, and made jokes. Visitors to Pesth from the 
country districts came to visit Deak. They stopped an evening, 
smoked a pipe and drank a glass of wine with him and with 

2 Judex Curiae. 


those who gathered in his sitting-room, and as they talked de- 
spair fell from them. 

So far to hint at the policy Deak had conceived, a policy of 
Passive Resistance, which in eighteen years beat the Austrian 
Government to its knees. Deak stood by the Constitution of 
Hungary. He declined to argue or debate the merits of that 
Constitution or the "fitness" of his countrymen for it— good or 
bad, fit or unfit, it was Hungary's property and Hungary alone 
could relinquish it. He refused to go to Vienna or to go to 
Canossa. Pesth was the capital of his nation, and in Pesth he 
planted his flag. "Keep your eyes on your own country," he 
said to the people, from which it may be inferred that a policy 
of Passive Resistance and a policy of Parliamentarianism are 
very different things. . . . 


The light from the window of Francis Deak's room in the 
Pesth hotel irritated and alarmed the ministers of darkness. An 
Austrian garrison, politely called a police force . . . occupied 
Hungary. Its duties were ... to keep the movements of Hun- 
garian Nationalists under surveillance by day, to pay them 
domiciliary visits by night, to report or disperse any assembly 
of Hungarians whereat the National feeling was fearlessly 
voiced, to superintend with their bayonets the confiscation of 
the soil, and to seize and destroy Hungarian newspapers or 
prints which had courage enough to beard and denounce the 
Tyranny. An Austrian Lord Lieutenant sat in Pesth and erased 
the historic territorial divisions of Hungary, the Hungarian 
Parliament was declared dead as Caesar, and a swarm of hun- 
gry Austrian bureaucrats ruled the land. Trial by jury was 
abolished, and Austrian removables, at 4,000 roubles per an- 
num, manned the Bench. The Hungarian language was offi- 
cially prohibited in the transaction of public business, and fired 
neck-and-crop out of the schools. 

And yet Francis Deak, sitting on the Bridge of Buda-Pesth 
on a sunny afternoon, encouraging little boys to throw hand- 
springs, . . . violently disturbed the equanimity of the bureau- 
crats in Pesth— yet why they could not say. The wave of dis- 
turbance rolled on to Vienna, and the statesmen there hit upon 
a subtle plan for the extinction of Hungarian Nationality be- 
yond the power of all the Kossuths and the Deaks in the world 
to revive. This was to incorporate Hungary in the Germanic 
Confederation, so that if at any time Hungary again attempted 


to raise her head, not only Austria, but Prussia, Saxony, Ba- 
varia and all the other countries of Germany would be bound 
to swoop down on her. But France intervened. Austria bluffed, 
but France remained firm. "We shall treat the attempt to oblit- 
erate Hungary as a casus belli," said the French Government, 
whereupon Austria caved in, and furthermore the State of 
Siege was abolished. 

The abolition of the State of Siege was little change in one 
way— the bureaucracy still ruled the land, and the Constitution 
was still in abeyance— but it permitted Deak to carry out one 
side of his policy with greater freedom. The Kostelek or Agri- 
cultural Union which he had founded set itself to compete 
with Austrian farm produce and wipe it out of the home and 
foreign market; the Vedegylet or National Protective Union 
which Kossuth had founded was freer now to wage war on the 
Austrian manufacturer, and the National Academy was freer 
to preach love of Hungary's literature and Hungary's language, 
than hitherto. 

Bach in Vienna was alarmed and disconcerted. He felt it 
necessary that Deak's influence should be destroyed, but how 
to destroy it puzzled him. At last he hit on an idea as brilliant 
and original as a modern Englishman himself could conceive 
—the idea of "a Royal Visit." "You must visit Pesth, sire," said 
he to Francis Josef. And Francis Josef prepared to visit Pesth. 
The Pesth newspapers were instructed to announce that a new 
era was about to dawn. Francis Josef was coming to Pesth— 
he was coming to restore the confiscated estates of the political 
offenders, and shower blessings on the people, and, therefore, 
he should be accorded a loyal and enthusiastic reception. Fran- 
cis Deak would, of course, welcome him with open arms, for 
Deak was a loyal man. "I am," said Deak, "to the King of 
Hungary." "And, of course, the Emperor of Austria is King of 
Hungary," suggested the reptile Press. "He is entitled to be," 
said Deak, "when he complies with the law, swears to uphold 
the Constitution of Hungary, and is crowned with the crown 
of St. Stephen in Buda. I am a Hungarian— I owe allegiance to 
the King of Hungary— I owe none to the Emperor of Austria." 3 

The Emperor of Austria arrived in Pesth on the 4th of May, 
1857, and was received with prolonged and enthusiastic cheers 
by the Viennese imported into Pesth for the occasion, by the 
plain-clothes policemen, the Austrian officials and the members 
of their families, and by the lion-and-unicorn shopkeepers. The 

3 According to Deak and his followers, the Austrian and Hun- 
garian crowns were entirely separate, even though they might be 
worn by the same person.— Ed. 


people looked on at the magnificent procession, which entered 
the city under a triumphal arch— erected by public subscription 
of the Austrian bureaucrats and their hangers-on in Pesth— 
bearing the inscription "God has sent You." 

His Majesty the Emperor went to the Academy and ex- 
pressed his admiration for the Hungarian language. "It is surely 
a New Era," said the Hungarian jellyfish; "let us present him 
with an address, Deak." "No," said Deak. "Not a grovelling 
address," urged the jellyfish; "an address pointing out the 
grievances under which we labour, and demanding their re- 
moval." Said Deak: "While Francis Josef violates the law and 
arbitrarily abrogates the Constitution Hungary cannot recog- 
nise him." But the loyal-addressers determined to present an 
address, and they did. . . . 

A few months after the Deak-destroying visit of the Em- 
peror Francis Josef, Bach realised that his grand scheme had 
been a fiasco— Hungary was as strong and as anti-Austrian as 
ever. "I must fix up Deak," said Bach, and he again invited 
him to come to Vienna to discuss the Constitution. "I know 
nothing of any Constitution, except the Hungarian Constitu- 
tion; I can only treat on the basis of the Hungarian Constitu- 
tion," replied Deak. "Come and let us discuss matters," urged 
Bach. "There can be no discussion, no argument, no com- 
promise on the Hungarian Constitution. It still remains— and I 
remain in Pesth," said Deak. And so the year of Our Lord 
1859 dawned for Hungary. 


In the spring of 1859 all Europe saw that war between 
France and Austria was imminent. Louis Napoleon engaged 
with the Hungarian exiles to make the Independence of Hun- 
gary one of the conditions of peace if he won the war— they in 
turn engaged to induce the Hungarian troops in the Austrian 
service to desert, and offered to make Napoleon's brother King 
of Hungary. But the French Emperor, after defeating Austria, 
broke his engagement on a plea of "the exigencies of the Euro- 
pean situation." 

Francis Josef came back from the wars in a chastened 
spirit. "My beloved subjects," he said to his people, "truth 
compels me to proclaim that we have been whipped," and, 
therefore, he announced he would devote his whole and un- 
interrupted attention to establish the "internal welfare and ex- 
ternal power of Austria by a judicious development of its rich, 


moral, and material strength, and by making such improve- 
ments in the Legislature and Administration as are in accord 
with the spirit of the age." Next he fired out Bach. Thirdly, he 
invited Baron Josika, a Hungarian, to become Minister of the 
Interior. "Your Majesty," said Josika, "I am a Hungarian. I 
understand Hungarians. I do not understand Austrians. If you 
appointed an Austrian to govern us Hungarians, he could not 
govern us well because he is alien to us. Neither could I govern 
well your Austrians, since I am of a different race. I assure 
your Majesty that the man who pretends he can govern a peo- 
ple well, who does not belong to that people, or else who has 
not spent his lifetime among them, is a humbug." . . . Gol- 
ouchowski, a Pole, was then offered and accepted the office 
declined by Josika. He and the Emperor put their heads to- 
gether, and finally decided to increase the number of members 
in the Reichsrath— which then was the equivalent of what we 
know as the Privy Council— that they might better confer and 
consult with it as to how to fix up matters. Six members were 
summoned from Hungary. "What shall we do?" asked the sum- 
moned of Deak. "Don't go," said Deak. "If Francis Josef 
wants to consult Hungary, let him come to Pesth and consult 
her through her Parliament." Whereupon three of them re- 
fused to go, and three went and made eloquent speeches on 
the floor of the House, incited thereto by Count Desewffy, the 
loyal-addresser of 1857, who through attending tea-parties and 
things organised by Rechberg and Von Hubner, two Austrian 
Union-of-Hearts statesmen, came to the conclusion that Deak 
was really the obstacle to the better understanding of two peo- 
ples whom God had created as the complement of each 
other, and Francis Deak, instigated by the devil, kept asunder. 
Poor Von Hubner, however, was an honest fellow, and in the 
exuberance of his New Eraian enthusiasm he grew quite senti- 
mental about Hungary, with the result that the Emperor dis- 
missed him from office. The Hungarian County Councils had 
been abolished in defiance of the Constitution, and the Em- 
peror and Golouchowski concluded their first step in the Con- 
ciliation game should be to revive these Councils in defiance of 
the Constitution, since they dared not admit the right of the 
Hungarian Parliament. If they acted honestly, the thing was 
simple enough. The Hungarian Parliament need only be con- 
voked, and the County Councils would be brought again into 
being by the command of that Parliament. But it was the last 
thing the Emperor or Golouchowski intended to do at this pe- 
riod. They had set out with the object of killing off the demand 
for an autonomous Hungary and drawing the fangs of Hun- 
garian disloyalty by restoring her a strictly limited district 
control over her gas-and-water, and by saying kind things of 
the Hungarian people and offering jobs and titles to influential 


Hungarians. "Let the dead past bury its dead," said Golouch- 
owski— among the dead which it would bury being the Hun- 
garian Constitution of 1848, a fact of which Golouchowski for- 
got to remind Hungary, but which Hungary did not forget. 

The splendid allegiance of the people to Deak saved the 
Hungarians. Had they listened to the voices of the weaklings 
and the teachings of expediency, they would have got their 
County Councils— in exchange for their principle— and there 
was an end of Hungary. But Hungary had a statesman, not a 
politician, at her head. Deak's immobility and Hungary's solid- 
ity baffled Austria. Austria could not recede— her Imperial ex- 
istence depended on reversing Bach's Absolutist policy. She 
could not advance— unless she paid Hungary toll. Deak had 
foreseen and knew— and smoking his pipe, waited. And the re- 
sult was that Austria offered toll. By Royal Ordinance the 
County Councils were restored— Austria must needs save its 
face by making the restoration on the outside an Imperial af- 
fair—but at the same time the Hungarian Parliament was con- 
voked. The wisdom of Deak was demonstrated even to the 
Wise Men, and Hungary not unnaturally was going to cheer 
when Deak told it not to. "Wait, my countrymen," said he, 
"until the Parliament opens, and we see what we shall see. 
There is abundant time to cheer afterwards." Deak knew his 
Austria, and Hungary sobered up, and in a calm and critical 
spirit awaited the now famous "Meeting of the Hungarian Diet 
of 1861." 




The County Councils were re-established. Their first action 
was to dismiss the Austrian officials who had been planted on 
the counties during the Ten Years' Tyranny, their second to 
strike out the rate for supporting the Austrian Army, their 
third to order the tax-collectors to collect no taxes unless levied 
by authority of the Hungarian Parliament. "What is the ob- 
ject sought after by the Hungarian County Councils?" asked 
a Vienna journal indignantly. Its answer to its own question did 
not convey the truth half so well as the prompt reply of the 
County Council of Pesth: "To sweep away every trace of Aus- 
trian rule, and hold Hungary for the Hungarians." Francis 
Josef was disconcerted. He invited Deak to come and discuss 
matters with him, and Deak went. Francis Josef prom- 
ised Deak that he would satisfactorily settle the Hungar- 
ian question, and assured Deak he might banish all suspi- 


cion from his mind as to Francis Josef's bona-fides. Deak was 
not bamboozled, but he decided to remove all pretext for 
breaking faith from Francis Josef's grasp. Therefore Deak ad- 
vised the County Councils to a less strenuous policy until the 
Parliament met and they saw what kind of a Parliament it was 
to be, and the County Councils bowed to Deak's statesmanship, 
and tamed their hearts of fire. Suddenly the new^ came to 
Pesth that Golouchowski had resigned and that Von Schmer- 
ling had succeeded him, and then came the news that Schmer- 
ling had a policy which was infallibly to settle the Hungarian 
question and the Bohemian question and the Croatian question 
and the other questions that disturbed the Austrian Empire. 
. . . Schmerling proposed to establish, or re-establish, local 
Parliaments in the different countries of the Empire, these Par- 
liaments having control over internal affairs, but no control 
over Imperial taxation, military matters, foreign affairs, and 
soforth. An Imperial Parliament in Vienna was to control all 
such things. This Imperial Parliament was to consist of 343 
members, of whom Hungary was to have 85, Bohemia 56, 
Transylvania 20, Moravia 22, Upper and Lower Austria 28, 
Croatia and Slavonia 9, Styria 13, the Tyrol 12, and the smaller 
States smaller numbers. Hungary received the Schmerling 
policy with a cry of derision. . . . Excitement grew in Pesth, 
and Deak had to use all his influence to restrain the people 
from proceeding to acts of violence against the Home-Rule- 
cum-Empire Party, which was almost wholly composed of Aus- 
trians or the sons of Austrians. "Be calm," said he to the peo- 
ple; "await the meeting of the Diet. A single false step and all 
may be ruined." The Emperor's warrant for the convening of 
the Diet was received, and Deak was immediately elected for 
Pesth. Three hundred representatives in all were elected that 
March of 1861, two hundred and seventy of them being avow- 
edly anti-Austrian, and the handful hurlers on the ditch. When 
they had been elected they refused to meet in the Castle of 
Buda, whither they had been summoned. "The Constitution of 
1848 fixed our meeting place in Pesth," they said, "and in 
Pesth we meet or not at all." The Austrians fought, cajoled, 
and gave way. . . . Then Francis Josef's message was read 
by Francis Josef's Commissioner. His Majesty felt deeply, he 
said, that mistrust and misunderstanding had arisen between 
Austrians and Hungarians, and he wished to restore peace and 
harmony. To that end he invited the Hungarian Legislature to 
meet, look after Hungary's gas-and-water, and send represent- 
atives to the Imperial Parliament in Vienna. The hall re- 
sounded with the scornful laughter of the deputies of the Hun- 
garian people. Francis Deak calmed the tumult. It was sought, 
he said, to have them transfer to a foreign assembly sitting in 
the capital of a foreign country, and calling itself an Imperial 


Parliament, the right of making laws for themselves and their 
children. Who would acquiesce?" "None!" shouted the repre- 
sentatives of Hungary with one voice. . . . Whereupon Deak 
drew up and the Hungarian Parliament adopted the famous 
"First Address of the Hungarian Diet of 1861 to His Imperial 
Majesty Francis Josef, Emperor of Austria, in reply to his 
Speech to the Parliament of the Free Kingdom of Hungary." 

"The twelve years which have just elapsed," said the Ad- 
dress, "have been to us a period of severe suffering. Our an- 
cient Constitution has been suspended. We have been griev- 
ously oppressed by a system of power hitherto unknown to us. 
. . . Each day brought new sufferings; each suffering tore from 
our bosom another fibre of faith and confidence." "We suf- 
fered," continued the Address, but in manly triumph added, 
"we were not untrue to ourselves"— hence Austria is forced to 
abandon Absolutism, and "We, the representatives of Hun- 
gary, assemble to recommence our constitutional activity. 
... If the independence of our country be menaced, it is our 
duty as men to raise our common voice against the attack." 
And it is threatened, continue the addressers— threatened by 
the very first step which you, Francis Josef, have taken in a 
Constitutional direction. It has been violated in that the Hun- 
garian Constitution has been only re-established conditionally, 
deprived of its most essential attributes. It has been violated by 
the Diploma of October. 

"That Diploma would rob Hungary for ever of the ancient 
provisions of her Constitution, which subject all questions con- 
cerning public taxation and the levying of troops throughout 
Hungary solely to Hungary's Parliament; it would deprive the 
nation of the right of passing, in concurrence with the King, its 
own laws on subjects affecting the most important material in- 
terests of the land. . . . —Therefore, we declare that we will 
take part neither in the Imperial Parliament nor in any other 
assembly whatsoever of the representatives of the Empire; and, 
further, that we cannot recognise the right of the said Imperial 
Parliament to legislate on the affairs of Hungary, and are only 
prepared to enter on special occasions into deliberation with 
the constitutional peoples of the hereditary States as one inde- 
pendent nation with another." 

"Do you want to be crowned King of Hungary?" continued 
the Address in effect. "Very well; first comply with the law- 
cease to illegally suspend our Constitution, and then we shall 
arrange about your coronation." 

On the 5th of July a messenger sped from Pesth to Vienna 
with the Address of the Hungarian Parliament to Francis Jo- 
sef. . . . 



On the 21st of July the Emperor Francis Josef replied to the 
Address of the Hungarian Diet. "Faithful subjects," said he, 
"you are acting in an extremely silly manner. You want the 
right to decide on taxation and other matters for Hungary- 
why, I offer you the privilege of coming into our Imperial Par- 
liament here in Vienna and deciding, in conjunction with my 
other faithful subjects, the taxation for the whole Empire. Your 
Little Hungary ideas are neither patriotic nor wise. Develop an 
Imperial soul, and get out of your parochial rut." . . . 

These words were not the Emperor's exact words, but they 
give the true spirit of the reply. It was read to the Parliament 
at Pesth amid cries of anger. But Deak, cool and farseeing, 
held the fiercer spirits in check, and on the 12th of August the 
Deputies, on his motion, adopted the celebrated "Second Ad- 
dress of the Parliament of Hungary to Francis Josef." Deak 
was its author, of course, as he was the author of the preceding 
one. Calmly he examined each claim put forward on behalf of 
Austrian control of Hungary, and calmly he disproved each 
claim. He exhibited Francis Josef and his Ministers to the 
world as Violaters of the Law, Rebels to the Constitution. . . 

On the 12th of August the Second Address of the fearless 
Hungarian Parliament was despatched to Francis Josef at Vi- 
enna. On the 21st Francis Josef replied by dissolving the Par- 
liament. The Deputies declined to acknowledge his act as legal, 
and in solemn procession marched to the House, which was 
occupied by Austrian soldiers, who at the bayonet's point kept 
them out. Deak, turning from the House, lit a cigar and walked 
back to his hotel, where he joined in a game of bowls. "What 
is the news?" asked his landlord. "Austria," said Deak, as he 
knocked down the ninepins, "has declared war." 


The Pesth County Council protested against the illegal dis- 
solution of the Hungarian Parliament. The Emperor replied 
by ordering the Pesth County Council to be itself dissolved. 
The County Council disregarded the Emperor's order and con- 
tinued to hold its meetings, until the Austrian soldiery entered 
the Council Chamber and turned them out by force. As the 
Councillors emerged into the streets they shouted with one 
voice: "Eljen a Magyar Huza!" "God save Hungary!" The 
shout was re-echoed by the people who had congregated out- 
side, and who, raising the Councillors on their shoulders, car- 
ried them through the streets, singing the Hungarian National 


Anthem. From the windows of his house the Chairman of 
the County Council addressed his fellow-citizens: "We have 
been dispersed by tyrannic force— but force shall never over- 
awe us," he said. "Austrians violate Justice and the Law, and 
then tell us we are disloyal subjects. When they restore what 
they have taken from us, then let them talk of loyalty." . . . 

Every County Council throughout the land followed the ex- 
ample of the County Council of Pesth and shared its fate. The 
officials of the County Councils patriotically refused to trans- 
fer their services to the Austrians, and for a little time some- 
thing like anarchy prevailed in the land. Francis Josef ap- 
pointed a Hungarian renegado named Palffy military governor, 
and proclaimed a coercion regime. A Press censorship was 
established, all local governing bodies were superseded by 
Austrian officials, and trial by Removables instituted. "The dis- 
loyalty of the Hungarian local bodies pains my paternal heart," 
said Francis Josef. "I come here," said Palffy, "as a good chief 
and a kind friend." "Behold the good chief and kind friend," 
said a Pesth newspaper, "Palffy— the renegado. Judas, we sa- 
lute thee." Palffy suppressed the newspaper and resumed: 
"The welfare of Hungary has always been and always will be 
proportioned to the loyalty of its people to the Emperor. See? 
Those who preach otherwise are seditious, blasphemous, or 
harebrained persons. Be loyal and you will be happy." Where- 
upon a Hungarian humorist wrote a rude rhyme which he en- 
titled "The Austrian Thieves." "The Austrian Thieves" became 
a popular song in Hungary, and the tune to which it was sung 
was heard one day by Palffy played by a military band. There- 
upon he summoned all the military bandmasters before him. 
"In future," said he, "observe that no revolutionary tunes are 
played by your bands, and above all, take care not to play that 
seditious new song, 'The Austrian Thieves.' " "Your Excel- 
lency," said one bandmaster, bravely, "it is not a new song— it 
is a very old tune." 

Deak admonished the people not to be betrayed into acts 
of violence nor to abandon the ground of legality. "This is the 
safe ground," he said, "on which, unarmed ourselves, we can 
hold our own against armed force. If suffering be necessary, 
suffer with dignity." ... He had given the order to the coun- 
try—Passive Resistance— and the order was obeyed. When the 
Austrian tax-collector came to gather the taxes the people did 
not beat him or hoot him— they declined to pay him, assuring 
him he was a wholly illegal person. The tax-collector thereupon 
called in the police and the police seized the man's goods. Then 
the Hungarian auctioneer declined to auction them, and an 
Austrian of his profession had to be brought down. When he 
arrived he discovered he would have to bring bidders from 
Austria, also. The Austrian Government found in time that it 


was costing more to fail to collect the taxes than the taxes, if 
they were collected, would realise. In the hope of breaking 
the spirit of the Hungarians, the Austrians decreed that sol- 
diers should be billeted upon them. The Hungarians did not 
resist the decree— but the Austrian soldier, after a little experi- 
ence of the misery of living in the house of a man who despises 
you, very strongly resisted it. And the Hungarians asserted that 
from their enforced close acquaintance with the Austrian army 
they found it to be an institution they could not permit their 
sons, for their souls' sake, to enter, wherefore they proposed 
that enlistment in the Austrian army was treason to Hungary, 
and it was carried unanimously. 

The eyes of Europe became centered on the struggle, and 
when the "Imperial Parliament" met in Vienna without the 
Hungarian representatives turning up to its deliberations, the 
Prussian and French Press poked such fun at it that it became 
a topic for laughter throughout Europe. So within nine months 
of the illegal dissolution of the Hungarian Parliament of 1861, 
Hungary, without striking a blow, had forced Austria into the 
humiliating position of a butt for Europe's jests. "Austria can 
wait and win," said Schmerling. "She can't wait half so long 
as we can," replied Deak. 


Austria strove to encounter the Passive Resistance of Hun- 
gary by ordaining, as England did in Ireland a generation later, 
"exclusive trading" illegal. The Hungarians despised the or- 
dinance and pursued their policy, occasioning much filling of 
jails with "village ruffians," "demagogues," and other disrep- 
utable people who disturb the peace of a country which a 
stronger country desires to rob. Yet a few months of the jail- 
filling process and Austria found herself in another cul-de-sac. 
"The Hungarians are an emotional and generous people," 
thought Francis Josef; "I shall try the friendly monarch pol- 
icy." And he amnestied all those whom but a few months be- 
fore he had thrust into prison. But the Hungarians did not re- 
spond to the dodge and sing Alleluia for the generosity of the 
royal gentleman in Vienna. They . . . added another satirical 
stanza to "The Austrian Thieves." 

In the meantime the Hungarian Deputies continued to meet, 
not indeed as the Parliament of Hungary, but as the Hungar- 
ian Agricultural Union, The Hungarian Industrial League, the 
Hungarian Archaeological and Literary Association, and so- 
forth, and through their debates and discussions kept the peo- 


pie of the country in the right road of National policy. There 
was no law, for instance, to compel Hungarians to support 
Hungarian manufactures to the exclusion of Austrian ones, but 
the economic wisdom of doing such a thing was emphasised 
in discussions at the admirable associations which we have 
named, and the results of these discussions had a force as bind- 
ing as law upon the people. A succession of Hungarian gentle- 
men travelled Europe, seeking new fields for an Hungarian ex- 
port trade, and keeping the Continental Press au courant with 
Hungarian affairs. At home, the Press was utilised to produce 
works of educational value to the Hungarian people— works 
National in tone and spirit, and the Hungarian historical novel 
became a feature of the time. A scarcity fell on the land in 
1863, but the spirit of the Hungarian people tided them over 
what in Ireland's case in 1847 became an appalling disaster, 
and at the end of the year of famine, Francis Josef, baffled by 
the manly policy of a spirited people, attempted overtures for 
a reconciliation, and announced that it was his wish to satisfy 
Hungary "not only in material respects, but in other respects." 
But the Hungarians suspected him of insincerity and ignored 
his overtures— still continuing to refuse to recognise his king- 
ship or his law, or his officials, or to pay his taxes, unless under 

Meanwhile Europe was scoffing at Austria's Imperial Par- 
liament. The Bohemians, after spending two years in it, grew 
disgusted, recalled their representatives to Bohemia, and de- 
clined to recognise any laws passed in Vienna affecting Bo- 
hemia as binding. Thus repudiated and boycotted by the two 
chief countries of the Empire— Hungary and Bohemia— the 
"Imperial Parliament" became a standing jest for the politi- 
cians of the Continent. Francis Josef came back from the wars 
to find the name of Austria sinking lower day by day, and 
once again he caused overtures to be made to Hungary for 
reconciliation. Hungary's answer was the same— when she got 
what she demanded she would talk of friendship. 

The friendship of Hungary had, however, become of urgent 
necessity to Austria, for Prussia was already quarrelling with 
Austria over the spoil of the Danish war [the war over Schles- 


It is to be clearly understood that the visit of his Imperial 
Majesty, the Emperor Francis Josef, to Pesth, the capital of 


disloyal Hungary, on the 6th of June, 1865, was wholly uncon- 
nected with politics, and was in no wise prompted by the fact 
that war between Austria and Prussia appeared inevitable. His 
Majesty went to Pesth for the purpose of seeing the races. So 
the journals of Vienna officially announced . . . 

His Majesty returned from his trip to the Pesth Races with 
the conviction that it would be decidedly dangerous to go to 
war with Prussia just then, and to buy peace he handed over 
one-half of the spoil he took in the Danish war— the Duchy of 
Lauenberg— to Prussia . . . This eased the strain, for Prussia 
affected to be contented, and the danger of war seemed to have 
passed. Whereupon Austria turned to resume the coercing of 
the Hungarians. 


Scarcely had the Treaty of Gastein, by which Austria ceded 
Lauenberg to Prussia, been formally signed, than the Austrians 
found reason to suspect that Prussia desired more than that 
Duchy as the price of peace. Accordingly, coercion was sus- 
pended, soft words were spoken of the Hungarians, and an 
amazing amount of virtue and innate loyalty to the Emperor 
Francis Josef were discovered by the journalists of Austria to 
exist in the souls of the countrymen of Deak and Kossuth. The 
doubt of the Austrians as to Prussia's designs became a cer- 
tainty after Lauenberg had been handed over, for when that 
had been done the Prussians immediately asked for the re- 
mainder— Holstein— to surrender which to Prussia, under the 
circumstances, would have been tantamount to Austria resign- 
ing the headship of the German Empire. 

It was clearly no time for coercing the Hungarians— Prussia 
was making friendly references through her Press both to that 
country and to Bohemia, and was seeking to conclude an offen- 
sive alliance with Italy. . . . 

There was clearly nothing for it but to "conciliate" Hun- 
gary. "Something must be done," said the Emperor. "Some- 
thing must be done," his statesmen echoed. 

The Manifesto of the 20th of September, 1865, was a 
franker document than State documents usually are. First, it 
abolished the Imperial Parliament, because as it admitted very 
frankly, the machinery of the Imperial Parliament had been 
upset since Hungary refused to send her representatives to Vi- 


enna, and kept them at home instructing the people to ignore 
the laws made by the Imperial Parliament. The manifesto then 
acknowledged the right of Hungary, Bohemia, and the other 
countries to manage their own affairs and conserve their sepa- 
rate nationalities, and it wound up by declaring the authority 
of the Hungarian Parliament and the other countries' Parlia- 
ments restored. And the Emperor added he would do himself 
the honour of visiting Pesth in December to open the Parlia- 
ment of Hungary. 

"So far, so good," said Deak, "but this must not be a mock 
Parliament." . . . 

OF 1865 

On the 14th December, 1865, the Emperor Francis Josef 
opened the Parliament of Hungary in state. His Majesty was 
dressed in Hungarian costume. He read his speech in the Hun- 
garian language. The Hungarian Members of Parliament, clad 
also in the national costume, listened to it politely, and some 
cheered when he remarked that he came to talk to them with 
the "frank candour" that befitted a monarch discussing the 
commonweal with his people. Deak sat silent throughout. 
"There shall be no compromise," he had promised the people, 
and Deak knew his Austrian. 

The Emperor's speech . . . pretended to give everything 
while in reality it gave little. It rallied the patriotic drum so 
much that a Hungarian Deputy drily observed that for using 
the expressions his Majesty used— and meaning them— five years 
before, his Majesty would have thmst a Hungarian into jail. 
At the end of the speech the Deputies applauded, and when the 
Press of Vienna next day exultantly proclaimed that Hungary 
had been appeased— and now— God be praised!— was with the 
Emperor— the Deputies politely explained that what they ap- 
plauded was not the speech, but the admirable pronunciation 
of the Hungarian language the Emperor Francis Josef pos- 
sessed—for a foreigner. . . . 

Stripped of its casing, the speech of the Emperor meant that 
Austria was willing to erect a subordinate Parliament in Hun- 
gary with a limited control over home affairs, and to confer 
with Hungary on common affairs— in the Imperial Parliament 
—but the Constitution was not to be restored; the Laws of '48 
were not to be recognised; the municipal institutions of the 
country were not to be re-erected. 


The Emperor saw from his failure to deceive Deak that he 
could scarcely hope to humbug Hungary on this occasion. 


. . . Parliament, after duly considering his speech, adopted an 
address in reply on the motion of Deak, who warned them 
"never to give up principle for expediency," which in cour- 
teous but firm language informed his Majesty that Hungary 
declined all compromise, and was neither to be intimidated 
nor cajoled into the surrender of her rights. 

The address was presented to the Emperor at Buda. The 
Emperor, in a temper, replied that what he had said he had 
said, and he issued a rescript, to make an end of the matter, 
assuring his beloved Hungarians that he would firmly uphold 
the principles he had enunciated in his speech. . . . With a 
unanimous voice the Parliament presented a second Address 
to the Emperor Francis Josef, which they sent him within 
twenty-four hours of receiving his rescript. The second Ad- 
dress left nothing to be desired on the score of frankness. It 
told him that Hungary demanded the complete restoration of 
her Constitution, the recognition of her independence as a 
kingdom, the reconstitution of her municipalities, the acknowl- 
edgment of her territorial and political integrity, the accept- 
ance of the Laws of 1848, and the absolute amnesty and com- 
pensation of every person who had been imprisoned or injured 
in consequence of the illegal government Austria had main- 
tained in the land since 1848. And, it added, until Hungary 
got those things she declined to regard the Emperor Francis 
Josef as King of Hungary. . . . The Hungarian Parliament 
continued to meet as if nothing had occurred, and by the di- 
rection of Deak acted as if the Laws of '48 and the Constitu- 
tion had never been suspended. And Austria was impotent, 
even if she had been strong enough to intervene, for Bis- 
marck's subtle policy had succeeded: Prussia and Italy had 
formed an alliance. Austria knew it was no longer possible to 
avert war, and was feverishly arming to fight for the hegem- 
ony of the German Empire. In this dire strait Francis Josef 
swallowed his big words, and again made overtures to Deak. 
Deak's reply was concise and decisive. All the demands for- 
mulated by the Hungarian Parliament must be conceded. . . . 


The Prussian army, within a few days of the declaration of 
war against Austria, overcame the resistance offered by the 
small German States which had thrown in their lot with the 
latter and advanced into Bohemia, where the Austrians under 


Marshal Von Benedek, an Hungarian Imperialist, were as- 

The occupation of Prague opened the road to Vienna, and 
the Prussians prepared to march on the Austrian capital. In 
this desperate strait, the Austrian Emperor purchased peace 
from Italy by retroceding Venice, and the Austrian army 
which had been engaged there under the Archduke Albrecht 
hastened back to defend Vienna. Francis Josef then sent to 
Pesth for Deak, and Deak on arriving at midnight in Vienna 
was received by the Emperor, pale and haggard, in the palace. 
"What am I to do now, Deak?" the monarch asked of his op- 
ponent. Deak's laconic reply is celebrated in Austrian history, 
"Make peace, and restore Hungary her rights." "If I restore 
Hungary her Constitution now, will Hungary help me to carry 
on the war?" the Emperor inquired. The reply of Deak ex- 
hibits the fearless and uncompromising character of the great 
Magyar. It was in one word, "No." He would not make the 
restoration of his country's rights a matter of barter. . . . 


The Austrian Empire seemed doomed. The Imperialists 
were demoralised— the oppressed exultant. . . . The Emperor 
fired out Pouilly, and looking round for a serviceable man to 
patch up things, fixed on Baron Beust, a foreigner of some 
small reputation, to act as Austrian Foreign Minister— or in 
plain English, to keep the concern from falling to pieces. 

Beust's first step was to demand an agreement with the Hun- 
garians. "On that," he said, "the continued existence of the 
Empire depends," and even bigoted opponents of Hungarian 
claims admitted, albeit reluctantly, that this was the case. 
"Peace with Hungary means the existence or non-existence of 
Austria, and it must be concluded without delay," said one 
Austrian statesman publicly and frankly. . . . 


On the 19th of November, 1866, the Hungarian Parliament 
met, and received a rescript from the Emperor Francis Josef, 
in which he declared he had resolved to give due "considera- 
tion to its demands and claims," and hinted at the appointment 


of a responsible ministry and the introduction of responsible 
government in all parts of the Empire. Deak mistrusted the 
tone of the rescript. . . . 

"None of your Majesty's proposals," he said, "will be taken 
into consideration by the Parliament of Hungary until all the 
demands made by the Parliament of Hungary are conceded, 
and a ministry responsible to it alone assumes power. . . . 
Between Absolutism and a nation deprived of its constitutional 
liberties, no compromise is possible." 

This was the firm language of a patriot statesman speaking 
on behalf of his nation to the head of a power which oppressed 
it. Deak's firm reply evoked a despotic rejoinder. In the be- 
ginning of 1867, the Emperor issued a decree making military 
service compulsory on the Hungarians. Belcredi was on top. A 
shout of rage and defiance rang through all Hungary, and for 
a moment it seemed as if insurrection would break out. Only 
the strenuous efforts of Deak saved the situation. He saw that 
the crisis had come, but the last moves in the game had not 
been played. His voice was heard above the tumult and the 
Parliament, swayed by him, sent a deputation to the Emperor 
with "Hungary's Last Word," as it has been called— the reply 
to the Emperor's conscription decree— which had been drawn 
up by Deak himself, and in which he said, speaking in the 
name of the Parliament of Hungary— "Let your Majesty can- 
cel the decree and all other measures sanctioned by Absolute 
power in defiance of our Constitution, let your Majesty re- 
store our Constitution in its integrity, and that as speedily as 
may be." . . . 


On the 7th of February, 1867, the Emperor . . . summoned 
Deak to Vienna, and in the Imperial Palace pledged his word 
to his old antagonist to concede all that had been demanded. 


On the 18th of February, 1867, the Hungarian Parliament 
reassembled in Pesth to hear the reply to the "Last Word." 
It came in the form of a Royal rescript suspending the Con- 
scription law and all other obnoxious laws until such time as 
the Hungarian Parliament declared itself willing to adopt 
them, and restoring the Constitution of Hungary. The reading 
of the rescript was followed by prolonged cheering from the 
Deputies, which, taken up by the waiting crowds outside, 
rolled and echoed through the streets like the roar of ar- 
tillery. . . . 

14. A. K. Jameson and Gene Sharp: 



Those who insist that it is possible to resist non-violently ex- 
ternal aggression as well as internal social injustice are often 
asked, "But what would you do about enemies like the Nazis? 
Could they really be opposed effectively by non-violent 
means?" The answer is that there was considerable experience 
with exactly this problem during World War II. Denmark and 
Norway, in varying degrees and contexts, did utilize the tech- 
niques of non-violent resistance with rather notable results. To 
be sure, there was violent resistance also; and even where non- 
violent resistance was employed, it was not because principles 
like Gandhi's were consciously adopted but rather because 
other methods were not available. When all this has been ad- 
mitted, however, the record— particularly in Norway— is not un- 

In Norway, the leadership of the Church, strongly supported 
by most clergymen and the laity, simply refused to co-operate 
in religious affairs with the Nazi occupation. When the Nazis 
established a new ecclesiastical leadership, the bulk of the old 
established Church ignored the orders of the new hierarchy. 
Through non-violent action, it preserved its integrity; and, as it 
stated in its manifesto of July 26, 1942, it possessed "no instru- 
ments of force, nor does it wish to employ such instruments." 1 
Similarly, the Supreme Court resigned and there was wide- 
spread non-violent disobedience on the part of other groups, 
particularly the teachers. The morale of Nazi military forces 
was at many points undermined by those segments of the pop- 
ulation which, while formally correct in their relations with the 
soldiers, let it be known that in their capacity as soldiers they 

1 Bjarne Hoye and Trygve M. Ager, The Fight of the Norwegian 
Church against Nazism (New York: Macmillan, 1943), p. 132. 
The whole book should be read to gain a more complete view of the 
non-violent non-co-operation used by the Church. See also Roy 
Walker, People Who Loved Peace: The Norwegian Struggle 
against Nazism (London: Gollancz, 1946). 


were not welcome. Naturally, many Norwegians suffered for 
these acts; but their hardships seemed only to stiffen the non- 
violent resistance campaign. 

This selection is divided into two sections. The first is a gen- 
eral survey of Norwegian resistance and a critical analysis of 
its non-violent phase, which lasted from 1940 to 1943 (after 
which violence assumed a larger role). The non-violent atti- 
tudes were in part the outcome of the Norwegian cultural back- 
ground and at the same time were conditioned by the complete 
absence of the instruments of violence. Leaders had little 
knowledge of pacifist philosophy in a formal sense, and al- 
though certain elements in the Norwegian heritage make it a 
special case, the experience shows what can be done in the 
areas of religion, education, sports, and the professions by a 
nation largely untrained and yet determined. 

The second section provides us with certain often dramatic 
details of the teachers' resistance in Norway. 

The author of the first section, A. K. Jameson, was a writer 
for the British publication Peace News, and his account is 
taken from his Peace News pamphlet, New Way in Norway 
(1948), for which he relied on original sources— including Nor- 
wegians who had lived through the experience— as much as pos- 

Gene Sharp, the author of the second section, has an M.A. 
in sociology from Ohio State University, has contributed arti- 
cles on non-violence to such publications as the Journal of 
Conflict Resolution, and from 1955 to 1958 was an assistant 
editor of Peace News, in which the material included here 
originally appeared as a series of articles. More recently he has 
been conducting research on non-violence for the Institute for 
Social Research in Oslo, Norway. 

A. K. Jameson: NEW WAY IN NORWAY? 

There is a considerable amount of detailed information 
available about the Norwegian resistance. This Report at- 
tempts merely to summarize the facts very briefly and to see 
what can be deduced from them. Is it possible to conduct non- 
violent resistance and if so can such resistance be effective? 
The answer must obviously depend not only on the quality 
and amount of force to which resistance is offered, but also on 
the quality of the people resisting, which again depends on 
their previous history and the nature of their society at the 
moment of impact. The first section is, therefore, devoted to 


this last-mentioned question and subsequent sections to the 
actual course of the occupation. 


The area of Norway is slightly larger than that of the British 
Isles, but it is spread over a length of 1,100 miles from north 
to south and consists largely of mountains with few and small 
valleys and long arms of the sea running far inland. Off the 
mainland lie no fewer than 150,000 islands of all sizes. As a 
result of this the country supports a population of only three 
million. Of this, one million is concentrated round Oslo fjord 
and the rest is scattered widely in small towns of ten to fifty 
thousand inhabitants and in villages and small isolated groups. 
Conditions of life are hard for the most part and call for 
courage, self-reliance, and co-operation within the group. Or- 
ganized industry is of very recent growth and is located almost 
entirely round Oslo fjord; agriculture, dairy farming, forestry, 
fishing, are still the staple occupations employing the majority 
of the population. 

These causes, combined with various historical factors, have 
resulted in the Norwegians being independent, enduring and 
resourceful as individuals, and also having a strong commu- 
nity feeling and a sense of social responsibility. There is great 
social solidarity and a democratic spirit much more pure and 
strong than is to be found in most other countries. The rela- 
tions between employers and employed are generally amica- 
ble; serious trouble seldom arises, and disputes are settled by 
arbitration or other peaceful means. The Norwegian has a 
very great reverence for the law, which he regards as the only 
basis of an ordered society, and he takes his obligations under 
it seriously. Practically everyone is a member, not only of a 
political party, but also of several voluntary organizations for 
religion, culture, sport, etc. Local self-government is highly de- 
veloped and plays a more important part in general adminis- 
tration than it does in this country. The level of education is 
high and the teaching profession is much honoured, teachers 
being largely chosen as representatives on political and eco- 
nomic councils. 

Norway had no war between 1720 and 1940 except for a 
few small and unimportant episodes during the Napoleonic 
struggle from 1807 to 1814. Down to 1935 its armed forces 
were negligible. Peace was to the people as a whole the normal 
condition. In that year, alarmed at events in Germany, some 
steps were taken to increase the armed strength, but in only 
a half-hearted fashion which produced little effect. Vidkun 
Quisling had, indeed, been trying to introduce Nazi ideas and 
methods since 1933, but he met with no success. His party, the 


Nasjonal Samling, at its greatest height never included more 
than 2 per cent of the population and even under proportional 
representation it never succeeded in returning a member to 
the Storting, the national parliament. 

It should be noted, however, that although the national atti- 
tude was clearly against the violent solution of problems, the 
membership of organized pacifist movements was very small. 
I have not been able to get precise figures, but estimates made 
by the persons named on p. 16 show that there may have 
been about 500 members of the W.R.I., 100 of a clerical paci- 
fist group, and 1,000 of the Norwegian Peace Society. Perhaps 
the very fact that most people regarded war as a barbarous 
and out-of-date method made them think it unnecessary to 
organize opposition to it. 


1. Special Circumstances 

The Nazis had persuaded themselves that the Norwegians, 
as pure Aryans, would welcome Nazi doctrine and would co- 
operate in building up the new order. They hoped not to have 
to fight at all, but if there were any resistance, they expected 
to crush it within a day or two. Even when they found resist- 
ance much stronger than they had expected, so that it cost 
them two months' hard fighting and quite heavy losses, they 
still adhered to their original attitude. They emphasized that 
they came as friends with the sole desire of rescuing Norway 
from the evils of democracy and initiating them into the glo- 
ries of the new regime. Special instructions were given to the 
occupying troops as to their behaviour and everything possible 
was done not to arouse antagonism. The whole mechanism of 
Norwegian government was retained unchanged to begin with 
and the daily life of the people was interfered with as little as 
possible. The attack that had to be faced by the Norwegians 
was on the ideological plane, the attempt to substitute the aims 
and methods of National Socialism for those of democracy, to 
replace popular election and responsibility to the people by the 
leadership principle, the king as guardian of the law by the 
fiihrer as maker of it. 

2. First Stage. June-September, 1940 

The Germans very nearly succeeded in their aim of annihi- 
lating any attempt at resistance on the day of the invasion, 
9th April, 1940. Had they captured the king and the members 
of the government, as they hoped to do, it is probable that 
armed resistance would have broken down completely. As it 
was, these escaped by the skin of their teeth and formed a 


point round which the nation rallied. For a day or two there 
was uncertainty in the minds of the people, but then resistance 
came as an instinctive reaction rather than as a thought-out 
policy, spontaneously and not in response to orders from 
above. For the authorities were so completely taken by sur- 
prise that at first they could do little and it was only when the 
people of their own accord rallied to them that resistance was 
organized. What is said to have had more influence than any- 
thing else in causing this reaction was Quisling's impudent 
broadcast on the day of invasion, in which he proclaimed that 
the legal government had been deposed, that he had become 
Prime Minister, and called on all to stop further resistance. 
He had been so utterly discredited as a politician and as an 
individual that his words aroused violent indignation and made 
the people firmly determined to have nothing to do with a 
regime that used such instruments. The Germans realized their 
mistake and unceremoniously threw him aside four days later. 

On 15th April some prominent Norwegians supported by 
T.U. and commercial organizations, with the consent of the 
German Commander-in-Chief, set up an Administrative Coun- 
cil to carry on affairs in the occupied territory. It was a tempo- 
rary expedient to prevent the country from falling into chaos, 
which would have been an excuse for direct German adminis- 
tration. The Council had no political competence, although in 
fact it continued to function for six months, long after the 
fighting had ceased. 

Surrender came exactly two months after the first landings, 
on 9th June after the king and members of the government 
had withdrawn to England. As we have said above, the Ger- 
mans allowed things to go on as before with administration of 
civil affairs entirely in the hands of Norwegians. Employers 
and workers accepted the situation and carried on for a while 
without protest, accepting contracts from the German author- 
ities even for military works, for in those first months of the 
occupation wages were higher than ever before and profits 
were large. The Trade Unions even allowed the Germans to 
replace the elected leaders by nominees of their own, fearing, 
if they resisted, that the organization built up by them over 
so many years might be altogether destroyed. In effect they 
withdrew from politics and concerned themselves solely with 
industrial affairs. 

It was only in the political field that the Germans sought to 
impose their will. On 13th June they summoned the members 
of the Storting and gave them an ultimatum demanding that 
they depose the king, dismiss the government, and elect a State 
Council with full powers. The Storting refused to comply but 
agreed to write to the king asking him to abdicate voluntarily. 
He replied on 3rd July rejecting the proposal on the ground 


that the Storting was not a free agent but was acting under 
compulsion of the occupying authority. The Germans took no 
immediate action, but on 7th September they renewed the de- 
mands . . . Again the Storting refused . . . The Germans 
then abruptly broke off negotiations and on 25th September 
they issued a series of decrees. 

These deposed the king and removed the government in 
London, dissolved all political parties except the Nasjonal Sam- 
ling and confiscated their property, relieved the Administrative 
Council of its duties and in its place appointed thirteen acting 
Councillors of State in charge of various government depart- 
ments all, except three well-known pro-Germans, members of 
the Nasjonal Samling. The Foreign Office and the Defence 
Ministry were abolished . . . 

3. Second Stage, October, 1940-September, 1941 

Although the government was nominally in the hands of the 
thirteen Norwegian Councillors, each had behind him a Ger- 
man official whose sanction was required for every order other 
than a routine one, so that in effect Terboven, the Reichs- 
kommissar, was the real ruler of the country. A new body, the 
Hird, was set up, equivalent to the German S.S. Corps, which 
took over more and more of the functions of the Norwegian 
police until the latter were practically confined to traffic-con- 
trol and similar routine duties. . . . 

The first attack was on the judicial system. The ordinary 
Courts were brought under the Quisling Minister of Justice, 
and a People's Court on Nazi lines was set up parallel to the 
existing ones. Decrees were issued by various Ministries which 
were in conflict with the law as it stood and when the Supreme 
Court objected to these arbitrary proceedings, Terboven said 
they were not competent to pass on the validity of any orders 
which he or the Ministers might issue. In consequence of this, 
all members of the Court resigned in December, 1940 and 
were eventually replaced by incompetent lawyers who were 
tempted to adhere to Quisling for the sake of the promotion. 

During this same period an attempt was made to alter the 
system of local government by investing Mayors with dicta- 
torial powers and depriving local Councillors of executive 
functions. In practice, however, these regulations were ignored 
and the system continued unchanged. 

Norwegians are very much addicted to organized sports of 
all kinds and there is a large number of Sports Associations 
governed on strictly democratic principles. During this first 
winter of the occupation the Germans dissolved these and re- 
placed them by others on the leadership principle to which 
they tried to compel the Norwegians to belong. The latter, 
however, refused to be dragooned in this way even when the 


premises and funds of their Associations were confiscated. So 
completely did they succeed in boycotting the new organiza- 
tions that the few attempts they made to hold public competi- 
tions were a complete fiasco and during the whole of the occu- 
pation there were no organized sports meetings. 

At the University the Students' Union was dissolved and a 
new Union on Nazi principles was set up, but this also died as 
the result of a boycott. One or two lecturers were appointed 
to teach Nazi doctrine, but as no one attended their classes 
they resigned before long. 

A more serious attack was made on the Church by a de- 
cree that compelled pastors to reveal information given to 
them under the seal of the confessional if the police demanded 
it, the penalty for non-compliance being imprisonment. 

In January, 1941 a strong protest was lodged with the Min- 
ister of Church Affairs signed by all the seven bishops. It 
pointed out that in Norway the Church is united with the State 
on the assumption that the latter upholds justice. This, they 
said, was now doubtful, and they adduced the illegalities which 
had resulted in the resignation of the Supreme Court, the de- 
cree violating the secrecy of the confessional and the conduct 
of the Hird, which was indulging unchecked in acts of increas- 
ing violence and lawlessness. The Minister's reply was re- 
garded as entirely unsatisfactory and in February the whole 
correspondence was embodied in a Pastoral Letter which, in 
spite of prohibition by the authorities, was read in all churches 
and distributed as a printed leaflet. No action was taken by the 

During this winter, decrees had also been issued making it 
compulsory to hang Quisling's portrait in all schools, to teach 
German instead of English as the second language, to elimi- 
nate all English text-books, to revise the teaching of history on 
Nazi lines, and to make instruction in Nazi doctrine compul- 
sory. This resulted in February, 1941, in a widespread strike 
of teachers, supported by parents and the Church, and in face 
of this opposition the authorities gave way and either with- 
drew the obnoxious decrees or allowed them to lapse. 

In two other departments of cultural life the Germans were 
similarly unsuccessful in imposing their ideology. During the 
summer of 1941 they became involved in quarrels with the 
doctors and the actors and in both cases they had to withdraw. 

During the winter they had been trying to replace officials 
in central and local government offices by members of the 
Nasjonal Samling but without much success. In February, 
1941, a decree was passed making membership a necessary 
condition of appointment to any government post. This at once 
produced a protest signed by representatives of twenty-two 
organizations of government servants, doctors, teachers, and 


other professions. As no reply was sent, another protest of a 
more comprehensive nature, embodying all the various illegal- 
ities perpetrated up to date, was sent in May, signed on behalf 
of forty-three organizations, which this time included various 
Trade Unions. The rank and file of the workers had realized 
the danger of acquiescing in the proceedings of the occupation 
authorities and it was owing to pressure from them that the 
leaders of the Unions joined in the protest. 

At last the occupation authorities were compelled to take 
notice. Terboven summoned all the forty-three signatories to 
his presence on 18th June and, after a long and angry ha- 
rangue, had five of the most prominent arrested on the spot 
and the remainder during the next few days. When he tried to 
appoint nominees of his own to the posts thus left vacant, the 
members of the associations resigned en masse rather than ac- 
cept the new leadership. The National Labour Federation, the 
largest and most powerful of the workers' organizations, then 
lodged a further protest against interference in the internal 
affairs of the Unions. 

The German authorities appeared to yield and released all 
the arrested men, but they succeeded in provoking the work- 
ers into striking on 8th September by refusing an increase of 
wages to compensate for the rise in prices and by cancelling 
the allowance of milk in the factories. The men's leaders saw 
the danger of this and induced them to go back on the 10th; 
but it was too late. A state of emergency had at once been de- 
clared. Two of the men's leaders were summarily shot, large 
numbers of workers as well as journalists and professional 
men were given long terms of imprisonment, the military and 
the Gestapo were placed in charge, and terror reigned for a 
week. The members of the T.U.C. were replaced by Quisling 
nominees who were given power to appoint controllers in the 
Unions, membership of which was made compulsory. Dele- 
gate meetings were abolished and election of officials forbid- 
den. Similar measures were taken with the Employers' Feder- 
ation, which had supported the men's protests. 

This ended the second stage. 

4. Third Stage, October, 19 41 -December, 1942 

All pretence of collaboration was now at an end. The occu- 
pation authorities no longer withdrew when they met with op- 
position but did their utmost to break it down by violence. On 
the other hand, the resistance, which had hitherto been largely 
spontaneous and loosely organized, was tightened up and 
made much more efficient. Most of the leaders of the under- 
ground movement had been arrested during the week of ter- 
ror, but others not known to the authorities took their places. 
An elaborate net-work of espionage was created so that the 


authorities' most secret documents and plans were known all 
over the country before they could be put into effect. In spite 
of the confiscation of wireless-sets in the autumn of 1941 the 
underground press, which was now organized and issued regu- 
lar printed newspapers, was able to give news and advice re- 
ceived from London. Strategy was co-ordinated, an efficient 
system for concealing those wanted by the authorities and 
smuggling them out of the country was evolved. Officials, pas- 
tors, teachers, etc. dismissed from their posts were supported 
with their families by voluntary contributions. Although the 
entire resistance movement was very largely non-violent, 
many of those who escaped to England were specially trained 
for sabotage and were dropped into Norway by parachute. 
In the labour field, although there was never any attempt at 
open opposition except for the abortive strike of September, 
1941, there was a good deal of quiet obstruction; machines 
mysteriously went out of action and work which should have 
taken weeks was spun out over months. 

Nothing of importance happened for some little while. In 
February, 1942, a higher status was given to Quisling's gov- 
ernment and he became Minister-President. His aim was to 
create a corporative state on Mussolini's model, and the first 
step towards this was the creation of Corporations. He began 
with that of the teaching profession. In February, decrees 
were issued reviving those which had been imposed and then 
withdrawn in 1941. In addition, the existing Teachers' Associa- 
tion was abolished and a new one set up on Nazi lines under a 
member of the Hird as Leader, membership of which was to 
be compulsory on all school teachers. At the same time a new 
Youth Movement was created on the model of the German 
one with compulsory membership for all between the ages of 
10 and 18 and this was placed under the Labour Service 

There were then about 14,000 school teachers in Norway; 
of these over 12,000 refused to join the new Association and 
maintained their stand even when they were told that failure 
to join would be regarded as resignation, with consequent loss 
of pay and pension rights, and the liability of being drafted 
into forced labour. The parents supported them, and the 
schools had to be closed. The teachers were given till 15th 
March to come to a final decision and practically none ac- 
cepted the terms. By the end of March 1,300 of them had 
been arrested and sent to concentration camps, where every 
effort was made to break their spirit by imposition of severe 
physical tasks and mental strain. When this proved unavail- 
ing, 500 of them were transported in the hold of an ancient 
steamer to Kirkenes in the extreme north and there subjected 
to brutal treatment. Still the number of defections was very 


small and the authorities had to admit defeat. Gradually, be- 
tween May and October, all those arrested were released. 

Meanwhile the schools had reopened on 8th April and it 
was announced that all teachers who took up work again 
would be regarded as having automatically joined the new 
Association and subscriptions would be deducted from their 
pay. Some preferred not to rejoin and taught privately; the 
majority resumed work, but only after signing a declaration 
that they did so in the interests of the children and that they 
refused to join the Association. The authorities then allowed 
the matter to drop and the new Association never actually 
came into being. By August the schools were in full swing 
again. The victory was obtained partly by the staunch support 
of the parents who overwhelmed the Education Department 
with written protests against the decrees. 

There were similar protests against the Youth Movement 
and in these the Church joined on the ground that to compel 
children to join a movement in which doctrines were taught of 
which the parents might not approve, was a violation of paren- 
tal rights. In this respect also the authorities were unsuccessful 
and the Movement never came into existence. 

In order to enforce their protest, the seven bishops on 24th 
February resigned their administrative functions as officers of 
the State Church, though retaining their spiritual functions to- 
wards the people. The government countered by dismissing 
the bishops and prohibiting them from exercising any func- 
tions at all, spiritual or otherwise, and by arresting the Primus, 
the bishop of Oslo, and two others. Thereupon on 5th April, 
797 out of 861 (93 per cent) of the clergy took action similar 
to that of the bishops. For some months bishops and clergy 
alike were subjected to harassment of all sorts, interference 
with their daily life and duties, prosecution for alleged of- 
fences, banishment from their homes, or confinement within 

Quisling's next step was to arrogate to himself the right of 
the king as supreme bishop to appoint persons in the place of 
those dismissed, but the only ones he could find willing to ac- 
cept were without the necessary qualifications. The Church re- 
plied by appointing a Provisional Council to carry on the work 
of the bishops and, although Quisling declared it illegal, he was 
forced in the end to recognize it and to negotiate with it. By 
the end of the year the Church was again functioning more or 
less normally. 

Having failed with the Teachers' Corporation, Quisling next 
tried to institute a Labour Corporation. The workers, how- 
ever, became aware of his intention before actual orders were 
issued and forestalled him by resigning from their Unions en 
masse so that the Corporation, if brought into being, would 


have represented only a handful of Quisling's supporters. The 
situation had become so ludicrous that Hitler personally inter- 
vened and ordered the whole project of setting up a Corpora- 
tive State to be abandoned. At the same time, however, 100 of 
the men's leaders were arrested and the workers were told 
that, if they did not withdraw their resignations, those arrested 
would be shot. As the resignations had produced the desired 
result, the men consented to rejoin. 

Although the new tactics of violence failed in their aim of 
compelling Norway to accept the new order, certain results 
had been achieved. All voluntary Associations had either been 
dissolved and their property confiscated or had been placed 
under Quisling control; press and radio were also under con- 
trol and there was a considerable amount of infiltration of 
supporters of Quisling into key-posts in the administrative 
services. By the end of 1942, moreover, some 100 Norwegians 
had been executed, 7,000 were in concentration camps, and 
1,000 had been deported to Poland. 

5. Fourth Stage, 1943-44 

The main struggle in this stage was for the mobilization of 
manpower. Since July, 1941, all ages and both sexes had been 
liable to undertake work of national importance— which meant 
in practice construction of fortifications and doing general 
war work. In the summer of 1942 there had been a strict 
comb-out of unessential industries and commercial firms. So 
far, however, there had been little difficulty in getting all the 
labour required, as wages for work of that sort were higher 
than elsewhere; but by 1943 they had been reduced to the 
same low level as others and transfer from one job to another 
was prohibited without permission. In February, 1943, com- 
pulsory registration for both men and women was introduced 
and a target of 75,000 additional workers was fixed. Whole- 
sale opposition was at once declared. Obstructive tactics of 
various kinds so overwhelmed the authorities that few registra- 
tions could be effected, and when the police went with the 
calling-up notices of those who did register they seldom were 
able to deliver them; those affected had gone underground. 
The Oslo Registration Office with records of the entire country 
was burned down. By the end of summer only 6,000 had been 
rounded up. Stern measures were then taken. The police were 
given extra powers and special Courts were instituted in which 
offences against the labour laws were summarily dealt with 
and the death penalty was imposed for a large number of 
them. . . . But still only a handful of those wanted was ob- 
tained and the contest went on unceasingly until the Germans 
were finally defeated. 



From the facts as stated above it will be apparent that the 
resistance falls into two stages; the first, from 1940 to 1943, 
was mainly non-violent, the second, from 1943 till the final 
withdrawal of the Germans, became increasingly violent, 
chiefly through the agency of units specially trained in Eng- 
land and parachuted into Norway who carried out extensive 
sabotage of military objectives. It is the first, largely non-vio- 
lent, stage which is of interest to pacifists. 

The champions of resistance in that stage were the teachers 
and the clergy as a body and some of the more prominent men 
in other walks of life, journalists, professional men, Trade Un- 
ion leaders, members of sports clubs and those who carried on 
the underground movement. The total number was less than 
1 per cent of the population and they belonged mostly to the 
middle class. 

The government and municipal services were also affected, 
but to a smaller degree. The authorities did, indeed, have to 
abandon their claim that membership of the Nasjonal Samling 
should be compulsory for all members of those services, but 
they were successful in imposing many of their practices and 
in replacing many officers of long standing by supporters of 

As regards commerce and industry, labour and domestic 
service, the books so far published say little and it is difficult 
to get at the facts. The reason is that those books are con- 
cerned to emphasize those aspects of the occupation in which 
the Germans were least successful in realizing their aims. It 
does seem certain, however, that, at least until 1943, the Ger- 
mans had little difficulty in getting all the labour and service 
they required. Ake Fen, 2 writing in 1943, says: "On the whole 
the commercial and industrial life has been carried on along 
the old original lines, but the capacity is diminished. There is 
plenty of work, mostly for unprofitable ends— German ends." 
Up till that year the workers as a whole had acquiesced in the 
occupation. . . . 

There was more opposition when in 1943 the occupation 
authorities were in difficulties for manual labour and tried to 
throw their net wider and to rope in sections of society which 
were not accustomed to it. Then resistance was offered and 
was successful to a considerable extent. It was, also, the first 
time that violence was used on a large scale. At no time, how- 
ever, was any attempt made to paralyse the life of the country 
by refusal to work or by stoppage of transport. There were 
great shortages of food, fuel and consumer goods, but condi- 

2 Nazis in Norway (Penguin). 


tions never reached the pitch of really acute general hardship. 

It is obvious that the Norwegians were a peace-loving peo- 
ple whose instincts were all in favour of non-violence; but few 
of them were pacifists in the sense of holding a reasoned creed 
of pacifism based on abstract principles, religious, moral, or of 
any other nature. Hence when invasion came the great ma- 
jority had no hesitation in resisting violently; but this violence 
was for the most part confined to the duly constituted armed 
forces and, once the army had surrendered, there was prac- 
tically no civilian armed resistance, no "partisans" or "men of 
the maquis," such as came into existence in other countries. At 
first, it is true, there were isolated instances of the murder of 
German soldiers, but that was soon stopped, partly from ex- 
pediency perhaps, but also because there was no desire to de- 
feat the Nazis by stooping to their own methods. There was a 
genuine, widely spread and sustained effort to keep the whole 
resistance non-violent in which all sections of society co-oper- 
ated. The violence which did come later was hardly at all the 
spontaneous product of the national will but a military tech- 
nique inculcated in a foreign country. There was a general 
agreement to treat the Germans non-violently, but to avoid 
contact with them as far as possible and to leave them in no 
doubt about the universal detestation which they inspired. The 
icy aloofness which they experienced had a depressing effect 
which undermined their morale. It was practised by all, even 
by those who were working for them, except the two per cent 
of Quisling's followers and they were boycotted along with 
their masters and made to feel the contempt in which they 
were held by all the rest. 

Another thing which differentiates the Norwegian resistance 
from that in most of the other occupied countries is that it was 
for the most part openly avowed without any attempt at con- 
cealment of those responsible for it. There was, of course, an 
underground movement, but it was used chiefly for the pur- 
pose of keeping the groups of resisters, widely scattered over 
a large area, in touch with one another, of co-ordinating effort 
and of sheltering those on the run from the occupation author- 
ities. It was not used for hatching plots nor for carrying out 
reprisals for acts of oppression. 

There was a very remarkable degree of solidarity among all 
social classes and the greatest fidelity in carrying out the in- 
structions received from the leaders. The high moral tone of 
the whole movement is clearly shown in the way the black 
market was run. Producers of foodstuffs were supposed to 
hand over all their produce to government distributing agen- 
cies, but in fact they succeeded in keeping back quite a lot. In 
contrast to what happened elsewhere, however, this store was 
sold secretly at prices very little higher than those officially 


fixed and much of it was bought up by employers for the bene- 
fit of their employees and by individuals for maintenance of 
those in hiding from the authorities. Practically no private 
profit was made from these transactions and hence the market 
had not the same demoralizing effects as it had in other occu- 
pied countries, and it ceased the moment the occupation was 

If the question is asked whether the Norwegian experience 
goes to prove that the technique of non-violence offers an effi- 
cient substitute for violence and can be successful in produc- 
ing the desired results, the answer would appear to be that it 
does and can in the moral and ideological realm. That is to 
say, the occupying authorities completely failed to impose 
their new order on Church, education, professional, and sport- 
ing organizations. These organizations were, with their funds 
and buildings, taken over by the authorities and handed to 
the two per cent of the population who collaborated with 
them; but it was only the material shell which was handed 
over. As regards the spirit, that was kept untouched and un- 
touchable and to the end Church and schools continued to 
preach and teach on the same lines as before the occupation. 
It was a magnificent demonstration of faithfulness to an ideal 
and of staunchness in face of physical suffering carried out 
over a period of years during which the occupying authorities 
seemed to be all-powerful and almost unchallenged in their 
career of conquest. The moral and physical strain must have 
been intense and the steadfastness displayed is worthy of the 
highest praise. 

At the same time it must be observed that Norway's success 
is no guarantee that the method would be equally successful if 
tried elsewhere or in other circumstances. That success was 
due largely to the character of the Norwegians, their history 
and the nature of their social arrangements. Not every nation 
has precisely their qualities, their innately democratic outlook 
which ensured solidarity among all classes, nor their combina- 
tion of strong individualism with capability of close co-opera- 
tion and willingness to carry out the instructions of a trusted 
leader. Their high standard of education, their long tradition 
of freedom from war and of peaceful solution of domestic 
differences must undoubtedly have helped to keep them non- 

The exact circumstances of the occupation might not recur. 
The Germans came ostensibly as friends and, after the actual 
fighting was over, they genuinely did their best to win the Nor- 
wegians to the new order by relatively peaceful means. For 
the first eighteen months such violence as did occur was 
mainly from Norwegians themselves, Quisling's Hird, and dur- 
ing that period the Germans accepted one defeat after an- 


other without retaliation. An invaluable breathing-space was 
thus given to the Norwegian people in which to recover from 
the first shock of invasion, and the fact that they were able, 
during that time, successfully to prevent the Germans from 
imposing their system, strengthened their courage and en- 
abled them better to endure the harder trials which came later. 
It is by no means certain that, if extreme measures had been 
put into operation by the Germans right from the start, the re- 
sults would have been the same. It should also be remarked 
that during this same initial period the nation as a whole was 
being continually heartened and encouraged in resistance by 
broadcasts from the Norwegian government in London, for 
wireless-sets were not confiscated till autumn 1941. There can 
be no doubt that these had a very great effect in sustaining 
morale and again it may be that, without such encouragement, 
the will to resist might not have been so strong. 

It is, however, only in the comparatively limited spheres of 
Church, schools, professions, and sports and with reference to 
moral and ideological ends that the Norwegian experience 
offers any evidence about the power of non-violence. For, 
while with few exceptions non-violence was observed by the 
people as a whole in their individual relations with the Ger- 
mans, no attempt was made to use it as a mass weapon out- 
side those spheres in order to compel them to withdraw or 
even to regard the wishes of the Norwegians. 

A satisfactory feature of the years of occupation is that they 
seem to have generated no lasting hate of the Germans. Within 
a very few months of the end of the occupation Norway was 
sending generous support in food and clothing to her late en- 
emies, and people who have visited Norway in the last eight- 
een months say that there is a general desire to forget the past 
and to go forward to a co-operative future. A certain number 
of their own war criminals (or persons so designated) have 
been punished, but here also there is a tendency to let bygones 
be bygones, to wipe the slate clean and to start afresh. 


The basic points at which the teachers would resist had al- 
ready been decided. After the old teachers' organisation had 
been abolished in June, 1941, following mass resignations 
when the Nazis sought to take it over, a new anonymous lead- 
ership arose. 

This illegal group of teachers formulated a list of four 
points of resistance: 


(1) Any demand for the teachers to become members of 
Quisling's party, the Nasjonal Samling; 

(2) Any attempt to introduce Nasjonal Samling propa- 
ganda in the schools; 

(3) Any order from outside the school authorities; 

(4) Any collaboration with the Nasjonal Samling youth 

These four points, spread among the teachers in December 
and January, were to be kept in mind and not discussed. 

Even if the teachers were imprisoned for their resistance, 
they should not give way on these issues. 

They viewed Quisling's new organisation as part of a larger 
plan to reorganise teaching methods, and saw that they would 
soon be expected to indoctrinate their pupils with the Nazi 

On February 11 and 12, 1942, there was a secret meeting 
of resistance leaders in Oslo. They too saw Quisling's step as 
the moment they had been waiting for and shared the view of 
the teachers: if they accepted this beginning, there would be 
no clear later point of resistance. They would finally have to 
accept the logical consequences of the first step. 

It was decided that the teachers should refuse to become 
members of the new organisation. Each teacher would be 
asked to write to the Education Department of Quisling's Gov- 
ernment informing it of his refusal to be part of the new teach- 
ers' organisation. 

A statement, short, simple and easy to remember, was 
drafted which every teacher was asked to use. 


Mr. Holmboe described the kind of methods used to spread 
these orders. 

"A friend telephoned me one afternoon," he said, "and 
asked me to meet him at the railway station. There he gave 
me a small box of matches. 

"He told me we teachers were to follow the lead of those 
who had met in Oslo, and that all the possible consequences 
had been discussed." 

Then his friend caught the train and was gone. 

"The box of matches contained the statement. My job was 
to circulate it secretly among the teachers in my district. That 
was all I knew. I didn't know who the 'leaders' were who met 
in Oslo." 

In the teachers' resistance no leaders were specially selected. 
They just arose from the situation. Generally, those who had 
an idea of something to be done were accepted and obeyed. 

"In the middle of the fight we never knew from whom the 


orders came," Mr. Holmboe said. "They were obeyed be- 
cause they came through people who had put themselves in 


This was the statement he found in the match-box: 

"I declare that I cannot take part in the education of the 
youth of Norway along those lines which have been outlined 
for the Nasjonal Samling Youth Service, this being against 
my conscience. 

"According to what the Leader of the new teachers' organi- 
sation has said membership of this organisation will mean an 
obligation for me to assist in such education, and also would 
force me to do other acts which are in conflict with the obliga- 
tions of my profession. 

"I find that I must declare that I cannot regard myself as a 
member of the new teachers' organisation." 

Every teacher was to write this statement himself, sign it 
with his own name and post it himself to the Education De- 
partment of Quisling's Government. 

The idea of having all of the letters in a particular school 
district gathered together and posted as a group so that every- 
one could know that the other teachers had also written was 
discussed and rejected. 

Mr. Holmboe told me that there was an inarticulate feeling 
among the teachers that "this type of passive reaction is of 
course dangerous and 'they' have their ways of stopping us, 
but it is the only way we have to express our opposition and 
we must do it." 

Isolated teachers in the mountains tried to keep contact 
with teachers in other districts, but whether this was possible 
or not each was to take personal responsibility for his own 

One nervous teacher in the mountains before posting his let- 
ter telephoned long distance to Mr. Holmboe to be sure that 
everyone else was really carrying out the plan— despite the 
probability that the telephone was tapped. 

The letters were all to be posted on the same day, February 
20, 1942. 


Of the 12,000 teachers in Norway, between 8,000 and 
10,000 responded to the call and wrote to Quisling's Educa- 
tion Department dissociating themselves from his new teach- 
ers' organisation. 


On the same day 150 university professors also protested 
against the N.S. Youth Front. 


On February 25 the authorities announced that the teachers' 
protest would be regarded as official resignations of their ap- 
pointments and if they persisted they would be fined. 

The same day the Education Department announced that 
all schools would be closed for a month "for lack of fuel." 

The falsity of this excuse was obvious. Wood is a usual fuel 
in Norway, and the forests stretch almost the whole length of 
the country. Further, the weather had become mild after a 
severe cold spell. 

The Quisling Government, Mr. Holmboe explained, was 
"panic-stricken." By closing the schools and thus dispersing 
the teachers it hoped to weaken their solidarity and break 
their resistance. 

From all over the country came offers of fuel to keep the 
schools open. 

Actually the "fuel holiday" proved to be the means of 
spreading the news of what had happened, for the official 
newspapers had published nothing about the teachers' resist- 
ance. People began asking why the schools had really closed. 
The facts got around. 


The Leader of Quisling's new teachers' organisation then 
announced that in such and such districts 100 per cent, of the 
teachers had become members. But many knew these were 
isolated school districts which had only one or two teachers. 

On March 7 the official newspapers announced that 300 
teachers would be called to do "some kind of social work in 
the north of Norway." 

March 15 was set as the deadline for compliance, and re- 
sisting teachers were threatened with loss of jobs, pay and pen- 
sions. The official newspapers finally referred to the protest, 
while playing it down as much as possible, but the warnings 
were issued only in circulars from the Education Department 
addressed to the teachers. 

In response to this threat, preparations were made for fi- 
nancial difficulties teachers and their families might face. Most 
of them had already been contributing two per cent, of their 
incomes for financing the resistance. Other people now joined 
this plan. 



Tens of thousands of letters of protest from parents, and 
some from others, were posted on March 6 to the Education 
Department. This move was probably organised by the resist- 
ance leaders. Reliable figures are not available, but probably 
somewhat less than ten per cent, of all the parents of pupils in 
the country took part. 

Heavily burdened, but smiling, postmen carried bag after 
bag of protest letters to Quisling's Education Department. By 
signing their own names, Mr. Holmboe said, the parents made 
a personal contribution and became "committed to resist- 

March 15— the deadline for compliance— came and went. 
The teachers remained defiant. 

On March 20 and the few days following about 1,000 teach- 
ers were arrested. There were no women among them. The 
arrests did not terrorise the people. 

The policeman who came to arrest Mr. Holmboe was an 
ordinary Norwegian policeman, not a member of Quisling's 
party. He was "very decent" and waited an hour for Mr. 
Holmboe to make preparations. 

Whether or not ordinary Norwegian policemen ought to 
have carried out such orders for arrests and other instructions 
from the Quisling Government has been often discussed since. 

The selection of teachers for arrest appeared haphazard. 
The authorities did not always arrest those whom they feared 
most. Apparently, they thought the weaker ones would be 
easier to break down, and therefore some should be included 
in the arrests. 

What Quisling's regime most wanted was to compel the 
teachers to abandon their resistance publicly. 

It was often left to the police to decide whom to arrest. And 
where the police were not Nasjonal Samling members, they 
sometimes consulted the teachers first. 

In one school the police telephoned the principal to say they 
had orders to arrest eight teachers. The teachers held a meet- 
ing to decide who should go, considering such factors as age, 
health and dependants. Then the principal telephoned their 
names to the police. 

After the arrests, the clergy made a statement in the 
churches at Easter about the relationship between parents and 
their children and nearly all resigned. 

Mr. Holmboe spent over a week in the local prison at Ha- 
mar with about 20 other teachers, eight of whom were from 
his own school. The rektor (principal) had also been arrested. 

The approximately 650 teachers arrested in southern and 


western Norway were then transferred from local prisons to 
Grini concentration camp. 

Throughout their detention the teachers' families received 
"from somewhere" the equivalent of their former salaries. 

In face of an ultimatum at the camp three teachers gave in. 
The rest stood firm. 

Four days later came another warning: Unless they with- 
drew their protests, in future they would receive no profes- 
sional positions, but instead would become part of a labour 

The German commander of Grini concentration camp, 
Siurmbannfilhrer (SS Commander) Koch, was nicknamed by 
the prisoners Stormfyrsten— "the tempestuous prince." He al- 
ways carried a whip and was accompanied by a large dog. 

On one occasion the teachers received an expression of 
sympathy from an unexpected quarter, following an harangue 
by Koch which concluded with the words: 

"You must not think you will be martyrs, or that a few dirty 
teachers will be able to stop the New Order for Europe!" 

At that point the dog vomited. 


On March 31 the teachers were taken from Grini concen- 
tration camp to J0rstadmoen camp, near Lillehammer, about 
200 kilometres from Oslo. 


When they arrived there were some bedsteads but no mat- 
tresses or bedding; cooking vessels had to be salvaged from a 
junk heap; tools for shovelling snow had to be improvised by 
the prisoners. 

Mr. Holmboe was part of a small group that reached 
J0rstadmoen on March 30 directly from local prisons. A sec- 
ond group arrived next evening. 

On April 1 the great bulk of prisoners arrived from Grini, 
making a total of 687. 

That day and the next the Germans organised the camp. 
Teachers were divided into age groups and assigned to bar- 
racks. German-speaking teachers were selected as group lead- 
ers. The Germans chose Mr. Holmboe as their interpreter. 

During these days he became recognised by the teachers as 
their spokesman and leader. 

The Gestapo created an atmosphere of fear. Orders were 


crossly shouted. Teachers were kicked on the slightest pretext 
and were forced to run rapidly wherever they went. 

This intimidation was aimed at producing nervousness and 
insecurity among the teachers. 


On the third morning there seemed not to be a single Ger- 
man in the camp. No one knew what was going to happen. 
Uncertainty and tenseness spread. 

For prisoners whose fate lies in the hands of others this is 
the difficult time. "The hardest things," said Mr. Holmboe, 
"are not those that happen, but those that might happen, and 
the time waiting for things to happen." 

What were "they" going to do to the teachers? Would it be 
better to give in? Was it all worth what might happen? 

The tenseness grew. 

Then one of the teachers said: "Do you remember what 
day this is?" And someone said: "Is this a good day for us 
to resign from small sufferings? Remember what Christ en- 

It was Good Friday. 

That afternoon the "terrorism" began. It was not the ex- 
treme individual torture for which the Nazi regime was notori- 
ous—including in Norway— but a more gradual and prolonged 
"treatment" designed to wear down the teachers' ability to 


Hunger and weariness were the chief weapons. In the morn- 
ing they received a cup of synthetic coffee. At noon a cup of 
hot water soup— for the German staff had "organised" (the 
camp slang for stealing) most of the few vegetables allotted 
for prisoners. 

Each was given 150 grams of bread a day— one-fifth of a 
small loaf of about \Vi lbs. This made four small slices. 

They received it at night, and had no more until the follow- 
ing night. Therefore if they were to have anything to eat next 
morning they had to exercise extreme restraint and eat only 
two thin slices at night despite their hunger. 

Some were unable to do this and therefore went hungry the 
next morning. A few so disciplined themselves that they put 
aside a little of their daily ration of bread for a possible time 
when there would be no food at all. 

Each morning there were Wi hours [of] "torture gymnas- 
tics," including crawling and running in very deep snow. 
Men up to 59 years old were treated "more or less as young 


Then followed Wi hours heavy work— "idiotic work" the 
teachers called it— much of which was shovelling heavy snow. 
This was followed by another 1 Yl hours crawling and running 
in the snow. 

People who have never run in snow reaching well above the 
knees cannot know how much effort it requires. 

After AVi hours "treatment" there was an hour's break 
and lunch— one cup of hot water soup. 

On that first Saturday afternoon while the rest of the teach- 
ers were being put through the afternoon session, the 76 older 
teachers— aged 55 to 59— were interrogated. Before the ques- 
tioning the younger teachers made it clear that if the older 
ones wished to back down because of their age it would be 
understood and not held against them. 

Mr. Holmboe said that as the older men were brought in 
one by one the Germans were really surprised as each refused 
to withdraw his protest. 

The meaning was clear: if the older men had not yet broken 
down there was little chance that the younger men would. 

And so the treatment was resumed. No one knew how long 
it would last. 

While the older men were being questioned that afternoon 
the usual afternoon treatment continued for the others: two 
or three hours repeat of the morning session. 

Meanwhile, in the outside world, the Quisling authorities 
prepared to re-open the schools. 

They announced that all who began working would auto- 
matically be registered as having joined the new organisation 
and their subscriptions would be deducted from their pay. The 
opening in Oslo and Aker was delayed, but the rest opened 
on April 8. 

But on reporting for work the teachers repudiated mem- 
bership of Quisling's new teachers' organisation, and made a 
statement in their classes on the first day. 

Mrs. Holmboe herself was one of these teachers. She said 
there was tenseness, then each teacher, before the class "spoke 
of conscience, the spirit of truth and our responsibility to the 

But, she said, she was not worried about her own possible 
arrest. The feeling of solidarity was so strong that she knew 
someone would take care of her two children. 


Meanwhile, the treatment of the prisoners continued. 

Two cases of pneumonia developed. The prisoners were not 
clothed for snowy weather and there were no facilities for 
drying clothes. 


One of the teachers collapsed during a session of the "treat- 
ment" and was carried to the medical centre. It was rumoured 
that he was dead. 

A German officer came storming in demanding of the 
teacher lying on the floor: What is this? Why are you behav- 
ing in this way? The teacher, regaining consciousness, replied 
that there was "too little food, too much to do." 

But if only you give in, everything will be all right. Why 
do you persist? 

"Because I am a Norwegian." 


The "terrorism" had continued, Sunday and Monday and 
Tuesday. After 1 1 a.m. Tuesday various groups were taken 
from their work for questioning: "Will you sign . . . ?" 

The old men were marched in, refused to retract their pro- 
tests, and were marched out again. Then the men began say- 
ing "No" as they entered the room, giving the Germans no 
chance even to question them. 

"They were like martyrs going to their persecution," Mr. 
Holmboe said. 

At least one of the most determined of the teachers was a 
pacifist; pacifists and non-pacifists stood solidly together. 

Only 32 out of the 687 gave in and were brought out of the 
camp. With this the Germans' theory that the teachers' deter- 
mined resistance was caused by one section intimidating the 
rest collapsed. 

The terrorism resumed: torture gymnastics, hard work, al- 
most no food. 


In the "outside world" the other teachers who had not been 
arrested and were still defying Quisling's demands were facing 
a difficult time. 

Rumours began to spread that the Gestapo were going to 
shoot ten of the teachers 'held at J0rstadmoen; or one in every 
ten; that they were going to be sent to no-man's land in the far 
north between the German and the Russian armies to destroy 
the land-mines, and to certain death. 

"I know someone who works at the Minister's office and 
. . ." "I know people at the office of the German headquarters 
and they told me . . ." "I know . . ." 



The teachers who had not been arrested wrestled with the 
problem: should they give in, or should they maintain their 
protests, taking the chance that their action might mean the 
execution of friends and husbands? "We didn't know what to 
do," Mrs. Holmboe told me. 

Then they made their decision. "I went as a wife," Mrs. 
Holmboe said, "to one man who wanted to give in and said, 
'The wives don't want you to give in. We will take the 
chance.' " 

Mr. Holmboe said their action made "the greatest impres- 
sion on me of anything in the whole struggle. We who were 
arrested didn't feel we'd done very much, but our colleagues 
in the schools stood firm in spite of this heavy pressure." He 
was glad the decision had not been his to make. 


The terrorism, which had begun on Good Friday, had con- 
tinued through the following Wednesday. The pace on Thurs- 
day was a little slower with only the heavy "idiotic work" and 
no "torture gymnastics." On Friday there was nothing. 

Mr. Holmboe did not know what the teachers in J0rstad- 
moen camp would have done if the treatment had gone on 
two or three days more, or until the first ten died from it. "Or, 
if they'd shot ten-what then?" 

But they did not have to face that problem. For the treat- 
ment there was ended. All of them were taken away from 
J0rstadmoen; 499 began their journey north. The others were 
taken back to Grini. 

Mr. Holmboe would have been the 500th to go north, but, 
ill with pneumonia, he was left behind temporarily. 

The 499 began their cattle-truck rail journey northwards to 
Trondheim at midnight on April 12, 1942. 

The slow train trip across southern Norway was a dramatic 
event for the whole country. The refusal of the teachers to give 
in had a great effect on the people as a whole," Mr. Holmboe 

As the train passed through the mountains, farmers came to 
the stations where the prison train stopped briefly, offering 
milk for the teachers, buc the German guards drove them 


After 17 cold hours in the cattle-trucks the train arrived at 
Trondheim. The 499 were then crammed into a small steamer 


—the Skjerstad— which had been built to carry 100 passengers. 

A doctor— a member of Quisling's party— examined the con- 
ditions on the boat and was horrified. He telegraphed Quisling 
asking that the voyage be stopped. His request was ignored. 

There was illness among the teachers; they asked the Ge- 
stapo authorities for medicines or a doctor. The request was 

The Red Cross tried to provide help, but the medical sup- 
plies were seized by the Gestapo guards. 


The teachers knew nothing of their fate. Many thought the 
over-loaded boat would be put to sea and sunk, the blame be- 
ing laid on Allied submarines or bombers. 

"The days before things happen are more terrible than the 
days they happen," Mr. Holmboe reminded me. A few suf- 
fered emotional breakdown from fear. Some would have with- 
drawn their protests then, but the Germans did not ask them 

On April 15 the steamer left Trondheim and began its long 
and very hazardous voyage to the far North of Norway. Still 
the teachers did not know their fate. The voyage took 13 days, 
stopping three times, and the food was very poor. 

Yet even in these surroundings the prisoners organised lec- 
tures and choirs to occupy themselves. 

Several smaller ships— carrying supplies and ammunition 
for the Germans, it was thought— accompanied the Skjerstad, 
for their own protection, not that of the teachers, as the Allies 
knew of the teachers' boat. 

On April 28 it arrived at Kirkenes, a small town near the 
Finnish (now Russian) border, and far beyond the Arctic 
Circle— close to the German-Russian front. The weather was 
cold and rough. 

In three days the teachers were transferred from the con- 
trol of the Gestapo to the authority of the Wehrmacht— the 
German army. 

Meanwhile, back at Grini on April 26, after once more re- 
fusing to give in, 153 teachers began their journey to Kirkenes, 
by cattle-truck train, and then in a small steamer called the 

Several extremely sick, feeble and crippled teachers re- 
mained at Grini. 


When the Finmarken stopped briefly at Troms0, about 
May 8, a representative of the local Gestapo told the teachers 


of a circular issued on April 25 by Quisling's Education De- 

This was a long and wordy statement, saying in effect that 
all was settled, that all activities of the new teachers' organisa- 
tion would stop, and that the schools would re-open. 

The teachers on the Finmarken were asked what would be 
their reaction if they were given an opportunity to answer the 
circular. They said they would sign no retraction of their pro- 

Afterwards three of the teachers— two of them pacifists- 
were locked up on the boat for having been especially vigor- 
ous in opposing any concession. One of these declared that his 
pacifism was the reason why he would sign no such statement, 
and the Germans mistakenly supposed him to be one of the 

Nothing further happened on the Finmarken about the cir- 
cular. The boat docked at Kirkenes on May 11, with 147 
teachers— six had been left at hospitals on the way. 

At Kirkenes the first group of teachers were told of the cir- 
cular about Quisling's new teachers' organisation. The teachers 
interpreted the circular as an attempt by the Quisling regime 
to save face while at the same time saying that the new teach- 
ers' organisation would be dropped. 

As events turned out, the new organisation never actually 
came into being, and the announced membership fees were 
never deducted from the teachers' salaries. 

They sent a telegram to the Education Department on May 
13 saying that with reference to the circular of April 25 they 
wished to resume their teaching positions. There was no reply. 

Meanwhile, the schools in Oslo had finally re-opened on 
May 7 and the teachers had presented a declaration dissociat- 
ing themselves from the new organisation. 


At Kirkenes there were no beds, bedding, mattresses or 
furniture for the teachers. They slept for a while in barracks 
built for German soldiers. Only a few teachers had brought 
sleeping bags with them when arrested. Later there were 
stoves for heating. 

Mr. Holmboe asked the German officer if the teachers 
could take some hay from a nearby haystack for bedding. He 
refused. A sympathetic German soldier showed Mr. Holmboe 
how to remove the old straw from the top of the haystack, 
take the necessary supply of fresh straw, and then replace the 
old so that the appearance was unchanged. 

With very few Gestapo men among the German soldiers, 
the treatment was less severe than at J0rstadmoen. A few of 


the Germans were sympathetic and helpful, but the teachers' 
plight was not easy. 


In June most of the teachers were moved to another camp 
which had originally been a silver fox farm. Instead of bar- 
racks, they now lived in 17 octagonal huts made of heavy but 
untreated cardboard with wooden floors. 

Only one of them had a window. The roofs were tarred, 
but when the walls became wet they lost their grip from the 
frames. The teachers nicknamed the camp pappenheim— 
cardboard home. 

A few preferred the fox cages, which consisted of wire net- 
ting—top, bottom and sides— and a wooden frame. These 
teachers were regarded as more sporting than the rest. 

About 300 others were housed in stables. In the barns there 
was hardly room even to lie down. Forty slept in a row, with 
about a foot's width each, so they all had to turn over at once. 


At Kirkenes the teachers were required to work. Despite 
their lack of experience, they were set to unloading from ships 
large oil drums and heavy crates of supplies. 

These supplies sometimes included ammunition, and there 
was discussion among the teachers as to whether they ought 
to do this work. They finally decided, however, to proceed but 
to "go slow." 

They were divided into shifts which worked day and night 
seven days a week. Considering their lack of training it was 
extremely risky; one teacher was killed, two men lost an eye 
each, one broke a leg and both arms. 


While at Kirkenes the teachers did not feel particularly 
heroic nor much concerned with victory or defeat. They were 
too much "concerned with immediate affairs." 

They were badly equipped for the cold. Some, Mr. Holm- 
boe thought, would have withdrawn their protests after a 
month or two of this, but after their transit from the south 
they were given no chance. 

While it was thus impossible for them to have given in if 
they had wanted to, the Norwegian people regarded them as 
heroes for maintaining their resistance. "In many ways our 
victory was organised by the enemy," Mr. Holmboe said. 


The teachers' deportation to Kirkenes had had an enormous 
effect on both the Norwegian people and the Quisling regime. 


While it consolidated the opposition of the people to the oc- 
cupation and the puppet government, Quisling and his follow- 
ers became furious. 

Quisling knew that if he took harsher measures against the 
teachers he might irrevocably increase public antagonism 
against the regime. 

Quisling had good reason to be angry. 

The new teachers' organisation had been the pilot project of 
his whole plan for instituting the Corporate State, and the 
teachers had thwarted it. 

This was shown better than anywhere else at the village of 
Stabekk on May 22. 

Vidkun Quisling arrived by car at the Stabekk gymnasium 
(high school). His Minister of Education and the head of the 
police for the whole country accompanied him. Twenty mem- 
bers of the Hird (Norwegian Gestapo) surrounded the school. 


The teachers were called together. Quisling stormed and 
raged and shouted at them. His voice could be clearly heard 
outside the building. 

He ended with the words: "You teachers have destroyed 
everything for me!" 

"That sentence was a triumph for us," Mr. Holmboe said. 
"It became a slogan and was taken up and quoted everywhere 
afterwards." It meant, he said, the teachers had blocked Quis- 
ling's whole plan of organising the new Corporate State. 

Quisling ordered the arrest of all the teachers at that school. 
Next day, a few teachers who had been absent during Quis- 
ling's visit, went to the prison where their fellow teachers were 

"We should be arrested, too," they said. 

At Kirkenes the days, weeks and months passed. The brief 
Arctic summer came and went, and the weather turned cold 


The days and weeks and months passed— for the people in 
the "outside world." But for the teachers, as for all prisoners, 
time was counted in minutes and hours and days. But finally, 
even for them, the days grew into weeks and the weeks into 


While the time passed slowly for the prisoners at Kirkenes 
camp, the Norwegian people did not forget them. Their spirit 
rose as they spoke of the sufferings and the bravery of the 
teachers, and their resistance stiffened. 

The intransigence of the authorities increased the impact of 
the protest. 

The longer the teachers were kept at Kirkenes the more the 
nation remembered them. The authorities thus "helped us to 
put up a much longer and braver fight than otherwise would 
have been possible," Mr. Holmboe told me. 

The spring grew into summer, and that became autumn. 
Still the teachers unloaded the boats and tried to keep warm. 

Although living in misery, they organised lectures, com- 
posed songs and sang, although there were no musical instru- 
ments. Others drew sketches and some painted (with paints 
smuggled into the camp). 

As autumn wore on and winter approached the weather be- 
came very cold, for they were well beyond the Arctic Circle. 

Despite the hardships and the cold, there was practically no 
serious illness in the camp. Some attributed this to the Arctic 
air killing disease-causing bacteria. 


Yet there were less serious illnesses, and a considerable 
number of teachers were no longer able to work. A German 
doctor examined them. Perhaps as a result of his report, it 
was announced that the Germans were willing to send back 
those who were unfit. 

The teachers were surprised. 

The German doctor followed the advice of the representa- 
tives of the teachers and selected 150 who were to be sent 

But the night before they were to depart the German au- 
thorities announced that before they left they must sign a dec- 
laration that they were willing to resume their positions in the 
schools as members of the new Nazi teachers' organisation 
(which had actually not come into being). 

What should they do? They were ill. Although only late 
August the weather was gradually becoming colder and 
colder. The winter was coming, and they did not have ade- 
quate clothing. 

Yet, after five months of resistance, should they give in now? 


The rest of the teachers held a meeting. The discussion was 
earnest. It was a difficult problem. 


Some argued that each person must make his own decision, 
but they could not personally sign such a statement. 

Others argued that just as in a war it is sometimes necessary 
to withdraw and for the injured and ill to leave the front lines 
as non-combatants, while others continue the fight, so it was 

This view was supported by Mr. Holmboe. In addition, the 
statement they were asked to sign was in German, and this 
particular struggle was not against the German Army but 
against the Quisling regime. 

The majority concurred. They recommended that the teach- 
ers who were ill sign the statement. They did so. 

Those papers, however, never left the Kirkenes camp, and 
were never used for propaganda against the teachers. 


So it was that about 150 teachers were sent home and re- 
leased. One of them took a sketch, made at the camp, home 
to Mr. HolmbQe's family. 

Then on September 16 a second group of about 100— who 
had signed no statement— were sent back. 

Mr. Holmboe was among the group which still remained at 
Kirkenes. They did not know their fate. Even if the Germans 
intended to send them back as well the time was short. 

There was a shortage of shipping. If they did not leave 
Kirkenes before December they might not be able to leave 
before spring. Although the sea generally does not freeze at 
Kirkenes, shipping would soon be extremely dangerous. The 
"dark time" of the year with no sunshine in the Arctic was ap- 
proaching, and the black-out of lighthouses along Norway's 
jagged coastline spelt danger to all shipping. 

The teachers became nervous. The temperature dropped 20 
degrees (C) below freezing. Then on November 4 the ap- 
proximately 400 remaining teachers were put on a steamer, 
and began a 16-day trip south to home. 

They also had signed no statement. 

As the teachers were released the news travelled rapidly 
over the country that the men— who had become national 
heroes— were coming back without having given in to Quisling. 


People met the train at the railway station. The ex-prisoners 
were given free lodging at the best hotels. Flowers and food— 
which was very scarce— poured into their homes. 

Mr. Holmboe arrived home on November 20— exactly eight 
months after his arrest. Congratulations poured in, including 


some from people he did not know personally, who wanted to 
demonstrate their support. 

Despite the stresses of the past months his wife remained 
calm. In 1939, when her husband had been called into the 
neutrality service to guard against the belligerents' violating 
Norway's neutrality, "I felt my knees were cut off," she told 
me. "Later, when the war came, and he was arrested twice, I 
felt more and more quiet." 

No one had known what would happen when the teachers 
began their protest, Mr. Holmboe told me, but "the experience 
showed to everyone the strength of non-violent resistance." 

The teachers had won more than a small skirmish. After 
Quisling had encountered further difficulties in his effort to im- 
pose the Corporate State, Hitler personally intervened and 
ordered that the whole project of setting up a Corporate State 
in Norway should be abandoned. 

The 1942 Norwegian teachers' resistance does not prove 
that non-violent resistance is always successful, or that it can 
always bring a totalitarian State to its knees. There were cir- 
cumstances operating in the teachers' favour which are not 
always present. 

But the "Kirkenes Journey" does prove a point which is 
often denied; that non-violent resistance can be successful un- 
der occupation by such a regime as Hitler's Nazi Germany. 

15. Joseph Scholmer: VORKUTA: 

In the summer of 1953, as is detailed in this reading, a great 
strike broke out in a Soviet forced-labor camp. On the part of 
the miners working there, it was largely non-violent and its 
leaders hoped to make it completely so. 

Joseph Scholmer, author of our account, was a prisoner at 
Vorkuta and had a good opportunity to study the psychology 
and sociology of the strike at first hand. The refusal to work 
was motivated by the desire to gain reduction of sentences and 
to improve camp conditions. Although the concessions even- 
tually granted by the authorities were relatively minor, Schol- 
mer suggests that had the strike been emulated by other com- 
munities, industrial production would have declined drastically 
and with it might have come a collapse of the political system 

The reading illustrates at least three important problems 
which arise in connection with any non-violent resistance 
movement. First of all, we note the importance of the context 
within which non-violent conflict is waged: at Vorkuta, this in- 
cluded such events as the recent death of Stalin, the uncertainty 
of his successors as to their future, the wave of strikes in East 
Germany and Poland, and the general atmosphere of hope that 
appeared to pervade the world after the passing of the dicta- 
tor. Secondly, Vorkuta exemplifies nicely the measures likely 
to be used by the authorities to break up any non-violent re- 
sistance; and in this connection it will be noted that most em- 
ployees of the camp never lost their humanity, often exhibiting 
considerable understanding of the strikers. A third and very 
vital observation is one stressed by Scholmer himself— that the 
strike was carried out by men who were inexperienced and 
who, had they been more experienced, might have achieved 
greater success. 

When all the frustrations of Vorkuta are enumerated, it still 
remains true that it demonstrated the possibilities of a largely 
non-violent strike even under adverse conditions. If it failed to 
achieve major objectives of the strikers, it should be remem- 


bered that a very high percentage of violent struggles have also 
failed: thus a militarily well-prepared Germany in World War 
I went down to defeat, as did a highly militarized Japan in 
World War II. In fact, the record of failure in violent struggle 
—using "success" here in its conventional sense— is a very long 

The reading is reprinted from Chapter XI of Joseph Schol- 
mer's Vorkuta, translated by Robert Kee (New York: Holt, 

During the first three years of my stay in the Soviet Union 
I had experienced a number of improbable things. But it had 
never occurred to me that in the Fatherland of the Workers, 
the home of the victorious proletariat, I would live to see a 
regular full-blown strike. A strike of more than 10,000 miners 
lasting for several weeks with all the usual paraphernalia- 
strike committees, slogans, pamphlets, and, of course, black- 
legs—a strike similar in every respect to that other historic 
strike, in the Lena Goldfields Company's mines in Siberia in 
1912, when the Tsarist police fired into the strikers just as the 
Communists were to do in 1953. 

This strike would not of course have been possible if the 
underground resistance groups had not already been in exist- 
ence. These groups were not formed specifically for the strike. 
They were already there. But they provided the personnel and 
the necessary technical basis for any sort of offensive action. 
The strike leaders were to some extent identical with the lead- 
ers of the resistance groups and in the camps in which this was 
not so they were at least chosen and approved by them. The 
strike had at its disposal a piece of machinery which had been 
built up with the greatest care and could be relied upon to 
function smoothly. 

It is also difficult to say whether the strike would have taken 
place without the example of the strike in the Russian Zone on 
June 17, 1953. Before June 17 the possibility of a mass strike 
had not been considered by the prisoners, nor had the leaders 
of the resistance groups laid any plans for one. All their prepa- 
rations were for the eventuality of war. June 17 revolutionized 
the situation. The prisoners suddenly saw that there was some- 
thing they could do. For a war— their one hope so far— they 
were dependent on the West, but they could bring about a 
strike themselves. It took some time for this realization to sink 
in. It was the ordinary man in the camp who had to bear the 
day to day burden of the strike. The necessary thought process 
had to have time to develop. 


As things were, this process of fermentation took from June 
17 to the end of July. It is, however, quite certain that if June 
17 had led to a general strike in the Eastern Zone, lasting as 
long as a week, the strike at Vorkuta would have broken out 
immediately, without any interval. The situation was quite 
tense enough as it was; everyone felt instinctively that it could 
not be long before the explosion came. 

It was nearly midnight on a warm summer's night in July 
1953. The drying room in my block was almost empty. At a 
little table in the corner two prisoners were playing dominoes. 
I could let my fire go out. It hadn't rained all day, nothing had 
to be dried. 

I told the two prisoners that I was going out to see a friend 
in another block. (In fact all the doors were supposed to be 
shut, but the guards often used to be careless and leave them 

'Don't worry, we'll see that nothing gets stolen.' 

I found Georg sitting on a bench in front of his block. 

'Good evening, Comrade sushilchik!' 

'Good evening, dear colleague!' said Georg. 

Georg was an engineer. We had made our odyssey through 
the various brigades together. We had dug in the foundations 
together, we had slung bricks, mixed concrete, carried mortar, 
and unloaded tree-trunks. But now all that was behind us. We 
were safe at last. Our health had been ruined over the years 
and we were on the disabled list. And we sat together on a 
bench in front of one of the blocks and looked out towards the 
beauty of the tundra on this long midsummer night. 

'Would you like some tea?' asked Georg. 

'Yes, please.' 

A few hundred yards away lay the road which led up to the 
north-western camps. Behind it lay the railway. The railway 
forked at that point: one line went to the pits, the other con- 
tinued straight on and disappeared over the horizon into the 
tundra. It ended at a port on the Arctic Ocean, about fifty 
miles to the north. 

'I can't make it out,' said Georg. 'Not a single coal truck has 
come out of those pits since yesterday evening. There's not a 
sign of life there. The engines are taking empty trucks up but 
bringing no coal back.' 

'Perhaps there's a technical hitch.' 

'I don't think so. If it were only a question of one pit, per- 
haps—but three!' 

About half-past one people came back from the night shift 
in the pit and reported that a strike had broken out in Pit Num- 


ber 7. An engine driver who had been in Number 7 and was 
taking loaded trucks out of our pit told them about it. 

The news was electrifying. We stood there discussing it for 

The next day a whole collection of further details started 
coming in. These consisted largely of pardsha, or lavatory 
rumours. Many such idiotic rumours had probably been put 
about by the NKVD to cause confusion. 

One thing, however, remained quite clear, and that was that 
Pit Number 7 had struck. But the engines were still bringing 
down the odd truck loaded with coal. Did this mean that the 
other pits on the same stretch of line were still working? 

A rumour came in that a strike had also broken out in Pit 
Number 40, the largest and most modern of all the pits at 
Vorkuta. The next day the camps in the immediate vicinity of 
the town were said to be striking. 

All these rumours were backed up with concrete details as 
to source and origin. 

A 'free' man working in the pit, whose wife had been into 
the town that day had told the brigade-leader in Number 6 
seam that the strike had spread to Pit Number 1. 

In the course of the day— so rumour had it— there had been 
shooting in Pit Number 40 and a number of people had been 
killed and wounded. That evening— still according to rumour- 
Pit Number 8 stopped work. 

At first it was impossible to get any clear picture of what 
was happening. Then things slowly began to fall into shape. 

Pits Numbers 7, 14/16 and 29 were on strike for certain. 
In addition, the prisoners working on the site of the big new 
electric station in the vicinity of the striking pits had also come 
out on strike. 

The prelude to these events turned out to have been some- 
thing of which we had had a glimpse from our own camp. 

A few nights before, a special prisoner train from the direc- 
tion of Vorkuta had come slowly past our camp. Behind the 
iron bars of the little windows we had just been able to make 
out the faces of the prisoners. 

'Otkuda? Where are you from?' asked our people. 


The train moved slowly round the great bend which led up 
towards Pit Number 7 and halted in one of the sidings. 

The next day the train came back empty. 

Three days later the strike broke out in Pit Number 7. It 
was the people from Karaganda who had started it off. 

This was what had happened: 

The prisoners in the Karaganda area lived under rather bet- 
ter conditions than we did, both from the point of view of 
climate and in other respects. But the main thing about Kara- 


ganda was that there was no long murderous Arctic winter 
there. When the shortage of labour at Vorkuta became acute 
owing to the increasing amount of building projects and the 
increasing amount of disablement among the prisoners, the 
NKVD Central Office in Moscow decided to send reinforce- 
ments of labour to Vorkuta from Karaganda. These reinforce- 
ments consisted of prisoners who had been living in Karaganda 
under semi-free conditions; most of them had been engaged on 
building projects. And the enrolment for Vorkuta took place 
on a voluntary basis. Volunteers were promised better pay 
than in Karaganda and settlement as 'free' population. 

And now on their arrival in Vorkuta they had been put 
into one of the usual special camps. Their living conditions 
were in no way different from those of any of the other pris- 
oners in Vorkuta. And there could be no question of settling 
them as 'free' population, for the practical facilities were not 

Whereupon the Karaganda people were so disappointed 
and enraged that they refused to do a stroke of work from the 
moment they arrived in the camp. On being officially informed 
that the authorities at Vorkuta could not hold themselves re- 
sponsible for any promises that might have been made to 
them in Karaganda, they set about stirring up trouble among 
the other inhabitants of the camp. They found the general 
situation more than promising. The old inhabitants of the 
camp declared their solidarity with the people from Kara- 

And so a few days later Camp 7 was living through a gen- 
eral strike. Neither the pit workers nor the brigades on the 
building sites outside the camp went out to work. From Camp 
7 the strike spread to Camps 14/16 and Camp 29. Our camp, 
Number 6, was to be the fourth to join the strike. 

Some of the prisoners in our camp who had previously been 
in Camp 7 described the atmosphere to us. They said that the 
prisoners were a mixture of intellectuals and simple men of 
action. It was more like 9/10 than 6. The prisoners were 
tougher; as in 9/10, many of them were the survivors of a 
process of biological selection. Within a few days it became 
possible to piece together what had been going on there. 

The camp had first elected an official strike committee 
which made the following demand to the camp authorities: a 
plenipotentiary was to be sent at once from the Ministerial 
Council of the USSR or from the Politburo. They refused to 
deal with anyone who had not come direct from the Kremlin. 

Attempts to make the prisoners return to work proved a 
complete failure. General Derevianko, the military com- 
mander, appeared and held a meeting at which he tried to get 
them to abandon the strike. The prisoners used the meeting to 


put forward propaganda for themselves. A speaker stepped up 
and asked the General whether the prisoners' demand for a 
plenipotentiary to be sent from Moscow was being agreed to. 
When the General answered 'No,' the speaker broke up the 
meeting with the words: 

'We have nothing to discuss with you. We will only treat 
with a responsible authority from Moscow.' 

A second attempt proved equally fruitless. Then this camp, 
like the others which had struck, was surrounded and put in a 
state of siege. 

The prisoners' demands, as presented by their strike com- 
mittees in the different camps, all concentrated round one 
main point: the quashing of, or at least reduction of, the 
decade-long sentences that had been inflicted on them. The 
exact way in which this demand was formulated by the differ- 
ent groups varied considerably from camp to camp. 

Some, for instance, demanded an immediate review of all 
political trials including sentences. Others demanded simply a 
considerable reduction of the sentences without bothering 
about the form of judicial procedure. Others demanded to be 
settled as 'free' population, and declared themselves ready to 
stay on in Vorkuta. They were in fact ready to continue work- 
ing in the pits there until coal production should be put on a 
different basis, either by securing voluntary labour from the 
Soviet Union with sufficiently attractive financial offers, or by 
making it obligatory for the komsomols to spend a year of 
service in the northern pits. Perhaps the most drastic demand 
was best formulated by the members of a building brigade in 
Camp 14/16 who, ordered to go to work by a guard on the 
second day of the strike, merely asked him if the barbed wire 
were still there, and declared that they wouldn't go back to 
work until it had been taken away. 

The majority of the prisoners were clear from the beginning 
that the Soviet Government would never accept their demands 
in full. They were hoping for some sort of compromise, such 
as that sentences would be scaled down by one-third or one- 
fifth, starting with the first year. Only very few of the prisoners 
realized that it was quite impossible for the Government to 
comply with the prisoners' demands even to this extent. 

Immediately after the outbreak of the strike in Camp 7 the 
authorities issued the following notice to all special camps in 

1. The prisoners will no longer be shut in at nights. 

2. The bars in front of the windows are to be removed. 

3. Numbers worn on the left arm and the right knee are to 
be removed. 


4. Henceforth every prisoner is entitled to write one letter a 
month to his family instead of two letters a year. 

5. With the permission of the officer in charge of all special 
camps at Vorkuta, General Derevianko, all prisoners 
whose work and conduct is satisfactory may, on applica- 
tion to, and with the approval of, the Commandant of 
their camp, receive one visit a year from members of 
their families. 

6. Every prisoner has the right to address applications for 
the revision of interrogation and trial proceedings to the 
Chairman of the Special Commission sent from Moscow, 
General Maslennikov. 

This notice was taken round all the special camps by special 
messenger on the second day of the strike. The prisoners be- 
gan delightedly pulling the hinges off the heavy iron bars 
which were laid across the doors of the blocks at night, ac- 
companying their action with a lot of swearing. The bars were 
wrenched from the windows and the numbers were torn off 
their clothes. As far as the concession about receiving visits 
from relatives was concerned the prisoners realized well 
enough that it was of no practical significance. Which of their 
relatives was in a position to come two thousand miles or more 
from the Ukraine, the Baltic States or Siberia, at their own 
expense, in order to spend a few hours daily with a member of 
their family for a period of three days or so? 

As to the last point: one-third of the 3,500 prisoners of 
Camp 6 addressed petitions for a revision of their proceed- 
ings in accordance with this announcement to Colonel Gen- 
eral Maslennikov or to the State Prosecutor-General of the 
Soviet Union, General Rudenko (former Soviet prosecutor at 
Nuremberg). In every single case they were turned down with 
the same stereotyped formula: 

'Your petition of such and such a date has been examined. 
The sentence is hereby confirmed. There is no occasion for a 
revision of the proceedings. After you have served your sen- 
tence you will be released.' 

It was in fact quite impossible for the Government to aban- 
don the system of labour or even to modify it to meet the 
strikers' limited demands. To have done so would have had 
a paralysing effect on Soviet industry. The labour camps are an 
essential component in the industrial life of the Soviet Union. 
Their role is to supply raw materials. Prisoners, who had been 
employed in the industrial ministries before their arrest, esti- 
mated that half of the entire coal production of the Soviet 
Union and eighty per cent of the wood supply is provided by 
forced labour. In other words, without this labour, the Soviet 
Union's industrial production would be brought to a standstill. 
The Kremlin is a prisoner of its own prison system. 


Camp 6 was one of the relatively quiet camps at Vorkuta. 
It seemed doubtful if it would join in the strike at all. And in 
fact it was exactly a week from the arrival of the first reliable 
information about the outbreak of the strike in the other camps 
to the moment when the proper psychological atmosphere for 
a strike in Number 6 had been created. All through this week 
the underground resistance groups in the camp had been lay- 
ing their preparations. During this week too the NKVD did all 
it could to paralyse the prisoners' growing determination to 
strike, by filling the camp with rumours. 

For instance we heard that: 

A widespread amnesty was imminent. By striking the pris- 
oners were merely annoying the Government and interfering 
with the arrangements for the amnesty. 

Or everyone who went on strike would be sent before a 
special tribunal which would sentence him to a further twenty- 
five years. This rumour of course made no impression on those 
who had twenty-five years already, but those who had only a 
few years of their sentence left, or were just about to be 
released, could not help paying attention to it. 

Or again: those who had struck in other camps had been 
taken to Vorkuta and shot after a drum-head court-martial. 
Everyone whose life meant anything to him paid attention to 
that. But the rumour was exploded when, a few days later, an 
enormous column of prisoners was seen marching back from 
Vorkuta to Camp 7. They waved and shouted: 

'Damoi! Damoi! We're going back home! The peresilka's 
overflowing; there's no more room for us!' 

So those who went on strike were merely being taken to the 

Or again: all those who struck would have their mail 
stopped. That exercised a considerable moral pressure. 

But when in spite of all these rumours the NKVD realised 
that things were not looking so good for them, they made a 
few preventive arrests of prisoners whom they considered ca- 
pable of playing a prominent role in the event of a strike: three 
Russians and two Jews. These arrests throw an interesting light 
on the informer system in the camps. The Russian informers 
were only in a position to report on Russians and Jews. They 
had been unable to make any contact with the real leaders 
who were nearly all Ukrainians and Lithuanians. 

One important step taken by the NKVD had been to isolate 
the camp. Normally the camps at Vorkuta keep in touch with 
each other whenever parties of prisoners are transferred from 
one camp to another. These transfers were stopped at once. 
Another opportunity for exchanging information is offered by 
the collaboration of brigades from different camps on the same 
working projects, on the railway, or on the roads, or in the 


gravel pits. In this way it is possible to keep up a regular cor- 
respondence between camps. Messages are deposited at certain 
agreed points and are then picked up by the other brigade. 
This source was also cut off. The outside brigades were stopped 
from leaving the camp. 

The first concrete piece of information about the strike in 
Camp 7 and the order to join the strike came from one of the 
railway personnel. An engine driver whose engine had brought 
full coal trucks down from some of the other camps said to 
the people working in the goods yards: 

T am to tell you to start as soon as you can. Camp 7 is ex- 
pecting you to join the strike.' 

During the night the underground strike committee, which 
was dominated by Ukrainians and Lithuanians, gave out the 
order that the strike was to begin the next morning. The 
heads of the individual national groups informed their own 
men. The instructions were not to fall in for rasvod, the out- 
side roll-call, but to return to the blocks after breakfast. 

We were woken at five o'clock as usual. The prisoners 
dressed and went over to the stolovaya. While they were eat- 
ing, soldiers formed up outside and barred the way back to the 
blocks. They forced the prisoners to fall in for rasvod at the 
guard-house nearby. The prisoners didn't dare to come to grips 
with the guards. The guards on their side knew that any as- 
sault on the prisoners could easily bring the issue to a head. 
They were polite but firm. They succeeded in assembling the 
whole of the first shift at the main gate. 

Then the officers made their first attempt to scare the 
prisoners into going to work. 

The strikers' names were called out individually and they 
were asked if they were willing to go to work or not. Those 
who refused were taken over to the door of the guard-house 
and kept there for the time being. Those who agreed to go to 
work— a small group largely composed of technical personnel 
—were formed up into a column and marched over to the pit. 
Finally, after a lot of effort, the officers succeeded in getting 
a second larger group out of the camp into the pit. 

But once there the prisoners refused to put on their working 
clothes. The number of guards round the pit-head was in- 
creased. They tried to persuade the prisoners to start work. 
Those who refused to do so were taken into a room where an 
officer from the NKVD legal department was sitting. 

'Why don't you want to work?' 

The prisoners answered evasively. Most of them said some- 
thing like: 

'Because the others are not working.' 

In front of the officer lay a fat book with pages divided into 
two columns: one for those who were willing to work and the 


other for those who were not. He tried to get the prisoners to 
sign in one or the other of the two columns. The prisoners 
had the uncomfortable feeling that they were going to be put 
down in the book in any case and refused. Many hid in 
the area round the pit-head and were chased by the guards. 
That evening my friend Seryosha told me that he had played 
hide and seek with the guards all day. 

After the experiences of the morning, the afternoon shift re- 
fused to go to lunch in the stolovaya. The brigades sent people 
to fetch the bread, but apart from that, lived off their slender 
supplies of sugar, cheap sweets and margarine. The Lithuani- 
ans distributed their bacon to non-Lithuanians— an otherwise 
unheard of event. This was an extraordinary demonstration 
of the Lithuanians' solidarity with the other nationalities. 

After about an hour three guards arrived to summon us to 
work. They were very polite. They had orders to try and per- 
suade the brigades to go to work. They did their best to carry 
out these orders, although they knew quite well that they would 
have no success. The prisoners knew that the guards were 
acting on the orders of the Commandant, and the guards in 
turn knew that the prisoners understood their position. 

So the ensuing conversation took place entirely according to 
the rules. None of the soldiers asked why the prisoners were 
striking. None of the prisoners made any provocative remarks. 
The blocks refused to go out to work— all right. The soldiers 
let a decent interval elapse, without making any further at- 
tempt to carry out their orders. The prisoners understood that 
the soldiers couldn't very well go back to the Kommandantur 
at once. They had been told to try and persuade the prisoners. 
They were using silent methods of persuasion, that was all. 

The prisoners offered them stools to sit down on, but the 
soldiers declined the offer. This was going too far. Finally they 
moved over to the door and stared out into space. The long 
avenues of the camp were deserted. The faces of the other 
prisoners could be seen behind the barred windows of the 
other blocks. The other guards were now beginning to wander 
back from these blocks. They had been equally unsuccessful. 

'Right,' said the guards. They laid the heavy iron bars across 
the outside of the door again and went back to the Komman- 

At this time of year it can be very hot at Vorkuta. It was 
stifling in the block. All the windows had been opened. The 
prisoners lay on their beds stripped to the waist. Some of them 
read, others slept, others sat drinking hot water. Gradually the 
heat became unbearable. Three Ukrainians took out the win- 
dow of the lavatory, pulled the bars out of the window frame 
and climbed outside. They were followed by ten, twenty, thirty 


or more others. They sat down in the sun and stared out into 
the tundra. Pit Number 7 was still not working. 

Then Mironenkov, one of the senior NCOs of 'the Blues,' 
arrived in the camp and started going round the blocks test- 
ing doors and windows to see that they were properly shut. 
When he came to the emergency exit of the block next door 
he rattled it to make sure that it was fast. Suddenly it opened 
from the inside and a voice said: 'Well, what's the news?' 

'Yob tvoiu mutch,' said Mironenkov, and saw that all the 
nails in the door had really been pulled out and that what 
looked like nails from the outside were merely dummies. He 
went over to the carpenter's shop to fetch a dozen long nails 
and began nailing up the door of the block again. 

Then he turned round to us: 

'How did you get there?' 

Someone said: 

'Well, we were outside anyway but the door was locked and 
we couldn't get in again.' 

Mironenkov tested the bars of the window of the lavatory 
which had been temporarily put back again, and they came 
away in his hand. Someone called out: 

'Mind out the whole window doesn't fall on top of you!' 

Mironenkov took the whole window out. 

'Davdi!' he said. 'Everyone back inside.' 

The prisoners climbed back into the lavatory. Mironenkov 
fetched some more nails and started trying to hammer the 
bars back into position. Someone called to him: 

'I bet you never thought the day would come when you 
would have to work and we would sit and watch you.' 

It was a thoroughly 'Russian' atmosphere. The whole after- 
noon passed like some scene out of a comedy by Ostrovski. 

The atmosphere was less placid in the block in which the 
prisoners who ran the 'ventilation' of the pit were living. The 
'ventilation' brigade was badly needed in the pit for technical 
reasons. All the pits at Vorkuta contain coal-gas, but Pit Num- 
ber 6 is particularly bad. The ventilation had to be kept going 
if the pit was to remain workable. The attempts to get these 
brigades to go to work were therefore correspondingly more 
insistent. Not three, but seven guards appeared. The prisoners 
maintained their attitude. In the course of the discussion that 
followed one of the guards took hold of a prisoner by the leg 
and tried to pull him out of bed. He was immediately set upon 
by the man's neighbours. A few sharp blows soon put him in 
his place again. 

'You've no right to lay hands on us!' 

The atmosphere was tense. The seven guards decided to 
beat a retreat. 

Half an hour later the Deputy Commandant arrived accom- 


panied by the Deputy Security Officer. It so happened that both 
their superiors were on leave. 

The conversation which followed was of a quite grotesque 
politeness. It gave a perfect indication of the state of mind of 
the Government in whose interest these two representatives 
were acting. Both officers adopted a fatherly tone. They talked 
to the prisoners as if they were naughty children. 

'Haven't we done enough for you? Think of the terrible 
years before 1948. We've built new blocks for you. The food is 
better. Have any of you ever been badly treated by us? Can 
anyone say he has ever seen me strike a prisoner? You must 
understand the pit has its norm to fulfil. If you don't work now 
you'll only have to make up for it later.' 

The two of them understood the prisoners' mentality. The 
Deputy Commandant, unlike the Commandant, Schilin, was 
in fact hated by no one. The prisoners saw that it was an awk- 
ward situation for the Deputy Commandant. Perhaps his whole 
future depended on his ability to get the camp to abandon the 
strike. Perhaps Derevianko had said to him on the telephone: 

'See that you bring this strike to an end at once. Otherwise 
no more promotion for you.' 

But the 'ventilation' brigade remained firm. A Ukrainian 

'We've nothing against you. We know you've never struck a 
prisoner and that conditions in the camp have improved and 
that we're not hungry any more. But that's no reason why we 
should agree to sit here for another twenty-five years. The 
strike isn't directed against you— it's about other things. We 
stand solid with our comrades. We're striking for something 

The Deputy Commandant left the camp without success. 

Only five of the thirteen special camps at Vorkuta joined the 
strike. The others were restrained mainly by the preventive 
measures which the NKVD took on the basis of their ex- 
perience in the five camps which struck. After each camp had 
been hermetically sealed off, the NKVD took certain steps 
to deceive those which had not struck. In Camp 6, for instance, 
they let the empty trucks go on running between the pit-head 
and the slag-heap for three days after the strike had begun, 
so that every camp within range would think that the pit was 
still working. 

The three women's camps at Vorkuta did not strike, because 
they were not well enough organized politically, although there 
were individual cases of women refusing to work. 

Those prisoners who had been arrested in the striking camps 
were mostly sent to Camp 11, where they were kept separate 
from the main body of the other prisoners there. Others were 


taken to the cells in the main prison in Camp 1. In Camp 11 
they lived under a particularly strict regime. They were set a 
twelve-hour day, and given lower rations than usual. They 
received no pay, all their mail was stopped; and they were al- 
lowed neither radio nor newspapers. Guards accompanied 
them from the blocks to the stolovaya, from the stolovaya to 
the pit, and back again to the blocks after work. The blocks 
were kept locked all the time and the windows were barred. In 
fact they refused to produce any more coal than was required 
for the camp's internal needs. 

On the evening of the second day of the strike in our camp I 
had a long conversation with Amstislavski. He was a perfect 
example of the typical Soviet civil servant, a Party member, 
without any mind of his own. There were about fifty such 
prisoners in the camp, former Party officials or members of the 
administrative machine, ex-officers, engineers or technicians of 
one sort or another. It was delightful to watch them in this 
new situation. They were absolutely dismayed. This was the 
first strike that had ever taken place in the Soviet Union. The 
effect on their political consciousness was that of an atom 
bomb. Deliberate reasoned opposition to the State was some- 
thing that had never crossed their minds as possible before. 
They had lost their whole feeling of security: who could say 
what would happen next? They were terrified of incidents and 
secretly sent messages to the camp authorities conveying their 

The same military precautions were taken immediately 
against all the camps that joined the strike. The soldiers in 
the special reserve in Vorkuta stood by in readiness from the 
moment the strike began. One night they started setting up 
machine-gun nests round Camp 6. It was like manoeuvres for 
them. When they had finished with their machine-guns they 
started putting mortars into position. 

'What will the soldiers do? Do you think they'll shoot?' 

Everywhere the same conversation. On the whole people 
felt that in the present situation, that is to say, in the absence 
of any positive factor to affect their political morale, the sol- 
diers would probably shoot if ordered to. The strike leaders 
were determined that the strike should be carried out without 
bloodshed if possible. 

This war that was no war soon began to bore the soldiers. 
They lay about in the tundra trying to protect themselves from 
the millions of flies that were biting them. The tundra is a 


boggy place. Every now and again it rained and the foxholes 
which the soldiers had dug for themselves filled with water. 
We could hear them complaining about their wet feet. 

One evening a soldier was patrolling up and down on the 
duck-boards on the other side of the wire. Georg and I were 
sitting together and he was telling me about the flora of the 
tundra. Just beside the duck-boards, where the sentry was 
marching up and down, was a large, purple, trumpet-like 

'What a pity!' said Georg. 'It only blooms at this time of 
year and then in only one or two places. So far nine of the 
brigades working outside have been able to bring me one.' 

We discussed what we could do about it. In the end I had a 
word with the soldier. 

'Excuse me, sir,' I said to him with exaggerated politeness. 
'We'd very much like to have that flower that's blooming just 
there beside the duck-boards— the purple one.' 

The sentry looked round. He knew he wasn't allowed to 
talk to prisoners. But he was perfectly friendly. 

'What do you want it for?' he asked. 

'We're botanists. We're interested in it.' 

'Are you Germans?' 


He went on marching up and down thinking it over. It 
seemed a strange request. Should he give these Germans the 
purple flower or not? After a minute or two he said: 

'How can I get it over to you?' 

'That's very simple,' we said. 'We'll throw a stone over 
wrapped up in a bit of paper. Wrap the flower around the 
stone, put the stone back in the paper and throw it back to us.' 

And this was what he did. 

This incident gives a very good idea of the mood of the 
soldiers at the time. We realized that in the present situation if 
ordered to shoot by Derevianko, they would certainly shoot. 
On the other hand the system had been unable to immunize 
them completely against the ordinary temptations of being 

On the whole it was obvious that the sympathies of most 
of the soldiers were with the prisoners and, certainly in our 
camp, with the exception of the incident in the 'ventilation' 
block, nothing happened to disturb the good relations between 
the two parties. The guards could easily have shown hostility, 
or have made their antagonism clear to us. But they didn't. 
They didn't raise a finger to do anything more than they were 
ordered to do. And if their officers had not been there to super- 
vise them they would not have done even that. 

The strikers took careful note of this. 


. . . The Kremlin did the only thing it could have done in 
the circumstances: it sent a commission of inquiry to Vorkuta 
to make a rapid and comprehensive investigation of the whole 

This commission consisted of about thirty officers and ar- 
rived by air on the little aerodrome at Vorkuta. . . . 

The commission worked for about eight days and then 
flew away again. 

Then came a day when we heard heavy tommy-gun and rifle 
fire quite clearly in the distance. It came from the direction of 
the three pits, Numbers 7, 14/16 and 29, ahead of us. At that 
time we didn't know which of these three camps the shooting 
was coming from. 

The same evening one of the two surgeons in our camp, 
Blagodatov, was sent off by himself to an unknown destination. 
When he came back a week later I heard from him an account 
of the dramatic events which had been taking place at Pit 
Number 29. 

There it had not been just a question of the prisoners refus- 
ing to go to work. Their first action had been to hold a public 
meeting and choose a camp committee of their own, in which 
all nations were represented. 

This committee then went to the Commandant and in- 
formed him that the prisoners were at once taking over con- 
trol of the camp themselves. They guaranteed the preserva- 
tion of law and order and demanded that to avoid unnecessary 
complications he should immediately withdraw his officers and 
men from the camp. 

This the Commandant proceeded to do. 

A camp police was organized from among the prisoners. 
Those who were in the bur for refusing to go to work or other 
non-criminal offences were released. The most notorious 
NKVD informers in the camp were locked up for their own 
protection and guarded by members of the new camp police. 

A survey was then made of the food supplies in the camp 
and it was found that there was enough for four weeks. New 
increased rations on a uniform scale were fixed for all prison- 
ers. The store sold all its reserves to the prisoners. The 
proceeds were handed to the Commandant. Five pigs which 
had been living off the swill from the kitchen were slaughtered. 
(An immediate consequence of this was that when our strike 
broke out in Camp 6 one of the first measures taken by the 
authorities was to bring the pigs to safety.) 

In Camp 29 the prisoners' demands were essentially much 
the same as in the other camps: removal of the barbed wire, 


review of all political trials and a reduction of sentences. But 
the camp committee, like the strike committee in Camp 7, re- 
fused to deal with the local authorities in Vorkuta. They de- 
manded to deal directly with a plenipotentiary of the Central 
Committee of the Communist Party or of the Soviet Govern- 
ment. Two attempts by General Derevianko to harangue a 
public meeting of prisoners proved a complete failure. The 
camp committee merely seized the opportunity to strengthen 
the morale of the striking prisoners. 

In the meantime the camp was surrounded by a military for- 
mation in battle order. Machine-gun posts were built, and mor- 
tars put into position. As neither of the two parties would give 
in, a compromise between the prisoners' demands and the 
authorities' offer was out of the question. The situation moved 
relentlessly towards its bloody climax. 

As soon as the military preparations for the occupation of 
the camp, which had been carried out under the personal 
supervision of General Derevianko himself, were complete— 
we saw a large number of lorries filled with infantry moving 
up in the direction of the striking camps during the night— 
an emissary was sent into the camp in the General's name 
demanding the prisoners' surrender. This emissary, an officer, 
behaved in such a provocative manner that he was set upon by 
the prisoners. The prisoners were once again called upon to 
surrender, this time by loudspeaker; but they refused. They 
assembled at the main gate, linked arms and formed them- 
selves into a solid phalanx. There were loud cries of: 

'Go on, shoot! It is better to die than to go on living like 

The Ukrainians sang their national songs. 

Derevianko gave the order to storm the camp. 

The soldiers moved forward. 

The main gate was battered in. They found the prisoners 
massed before them an easy target. 

It was at this point that the surgeon, Blagodatov, was ordered 
to Camp 29. 

'When I arrived at the camp,' he told me, T found about 200 
seriously wounded still alive, most of them hit in the chest and 
stomach. There were about a dozen Germans among them. 
Sixty-four prisoners had been killed on the spot, including four 
Germans. There wasn't much chance of saving many of the 
wounded, first because they had no resistance left to deal with 
wound infections, and secondly because there weren't enough 
instruments or bandages, or facilities for operating, or trained 

'We operated for a whole week. We did what we could, but 
they were dying from their wounds all the time.' 

A fortnight after the start of the strike in Camp 7 the Gen- 


eral also delivered an ultimatum to the strikers there: either 
they must march out and form up in the tundra or else the 
camp would be taken by storm. 

To prevent bloodshed the strikers decided to obey Dere- 
vianko's orders. The gates were opened and a long column of 
prisoners marched out. A few hundred yards away they were 
all surrounded like a flock of sheep. One by one they were 
made to file past the camp commandant, the head of the 
NKVD, his officers and his crowd of informers. With the help 
of the informers all strikers who could possibly be suspected 
of having had anything to do with the leadership of the strike, 
were weeded out. These amounted to between four and five 
hundred prisoners. They were loaded into lorries and driven 
away. The remainder were sent back into the camp. This ac- 
tion in fact eliminated the entire strike committee though they 
were not known individually. All the active elements in the 
camp were now missing. The masses were leaderless. The 
morale of the strikers had been broken. Work began in the pit 
again next day. 

. . . Although the concessions made by the Government 
were in the end infinitesimal compared with the strikers' prac- 
tical demands, even the most infinitesimal concession repre- 
sented, in the circumstances, something tremendous. The strike 
was a sensational success for this one reason alone: it proved 
that it is possible to use the weapon of the strike with relative 
impunity in the Soviet Union itself— in the 'workers' paradise' 
in which it should by definition be impossible. 

. . . This had been an underground strike; it had been car- 
ried out under the very noses of the NKVD. The conditions 
for it were in every way more difficult than for a strike in a 
capitalist country. None of the strikers themselves had any 
strike experience. These workers were striking for the first time 
in their lives. . . . They had the simple inexperience of the 
workers in the early days of capitalism, of the Chartists, or of 
the Russian workers' groups in 1880. Not one of the leaders 
had ever seen a strike before in his life, let alone taken part 
in one or led one. They improvised their strike technique as 
they went along. Moreover, this technique had to develop in- 
dependently in each camp. The camps had no chance of learn- 
ing from another's experience. Thus the strike took a com- 
pletely different course in each camp. 

And undoubtedly mistakes were made. 

In not one of the camps did the leaders make use of that 
form of strike which, throughout the history of strikes, has 


always proved the most effective: the sit-down strike. They let 
everything be thrashed out in the camp itself instead of in the 
pit. That is where the main battleground of the strike should 
have been, for the simple reason that the pit is the exclusive 
preserve of the prisoners. 

Inside the pit it would have been possible to carry on open 
and effective strike propaganda. Small meetings, impossible in 
the camp because of the informer system, could have been 
held. And the strikers' shock troops could have got possession 
of technical key points such as the main production lift and 
the coal trucks, and from there have exercised control over the 
whole pit. 

The fact that the prisoners stayed in the camps gave the 
NKVD their chance to sort out, isolate and remove the most 
active elements in the strike. 

The most important thing about the strike was that it ever 
took place at all. It had a profound effect not only on the pris- 
oners but also on the civilian population in other parts of the 
Soviet Union. Two months later we had some students from 
the Leningrad mining institute working in the pit. 

'We soon got to know you were on strike,' they told us. The 
drop in coal was noticeable at once. We don't have any re- 
serves. There's just the plan, that's all. And everyone knows 
how vulnerable plans are.' 

This strike had been the first visible positive demonstration 
against the Government since the sailors' mutiny at Kronstadt 
in 1921. It had destroyed the myth that the system was un- 
assailable. The system is in fact wide open to attack the mo- 
ment the workers start using against its ruling classes those very 
methods which its ruling classes recommend to the workers in 
'capitalist' countries. In addition to this, the planned economic 
system of the Soviet Union is far more vulnerable to such a 
form of attack than 'capitalist' society. This army of millions 
of prisoners literally controls the supply of basic raw materials 
(50 per cent of the coal and 80 per cent of the wood). 
A strike, not only in Vorkuta, but in every region administered 
by the NKVD would certainly have the effect of shaking the 
Soviet economic system to its foundations. 



In contrast to the readings in Part II, those in Part III are 
concerned with deliberate, conscious, and principled non-vio- 
lence. While the cases presented in Part II did on occasion ap- 
proach the theory of non-violence, those in this part deal with 
situations and experiments based upon more or less well-articu- 
lated philosophies, and with the quest for ways of defending 
group autonomy and achieving social justice through basically 
n on-violent power. 

Only one large community in history has ever sought con- 
sciously and over a long period of time to dispense with mili- 
tary force as a method of defending itself against aggression 
and infringements of its rights. It is, therefore, appropriate that 
\ this section begins with an account of the unarmed politics of 
colonial Pennsylvania. Although Pennsylvania was a part of the 
British Empire and was therefore nominally defended by Brit- 
ish troops, throughout most of its history no such troops were 
available near at hand for defense against the Indians or others. 
Nor did the colony desire such defense; unlike the other colo- 
nies, it refused to raise its own army or militia. It claimed to 
found its domestic and international policies on principles of 
exact justice, which it believed would serve as a better defense 
than armed might; and although its later history is filled with 
dubious compromises, it remains an undisputed fact that so 
long as seventeenth-century Quaker views predominated and a 
large proportion of the population adhered to that faith, the 
community was never menaced by Indians. During the same 
period most of the other colonies had many difficulties with 
the tribes, and some suffered cruel wars. 

Pennsylvania constitutes a good example, too, of an effort to 
distinguish between the legitimate employment of physical 
force and what the founders regarded as its illegitimate use; 
and although they never worked out a complete theory, cer- 
tain doctrines can be inferred. Thus, restraint of individuals 
through police action and mild punishments (mild at least in 
relation to seventeenth-century views) were deemed compati- 
ble with Quaker conceptions of non-violence, while the indis- 
criminate force employed in war was not. 

This first reading is followed by John Fiske's history of the 
Dominican missionary Las Casas and his transformation of the 
"Land of War" into a "Land of Peace," an account that illu- 
minates the theories behind both Las Casas' attitude to human 
relations and Fiske's own belief that human progress consists 


in the development of non-retaliatory responses to violence. 

The remaining readings treat of principled efforts to utilize 
strategies of non-violent power in the modern world. Of these, 
Reading 18 is perhaps the most basic, for it deals with the 
concrete application of Satyagraha in Indian politics and, be- 
cause of the influence of Gandhi's ideas in the West, deserves 
particularly careful perusal. In a sense, South Africa, the sub- 
ject of Reading 19, occupies the same place with respect to 
Satyagraha that India held a generation or more ago: the doc- 
trine's application on a mass scale is in its beginning stages. 

The most obvious application of Satyagraha and other the- 
ories of non-violent resistance in recent American experience 
has been the Negroes' struggle for equality. Reading 20 takes 
up this theme. While Gandhi's influence has been important in 
this conflict, we should also remember native American prece- 
dents, among them non-violent resistance to the Fugitive Slave 
Laws before the Civil War and the history of the feminist 
movement, which employed many tactics that might come un- 
der the heading of non-violent resistance or coercion. 

It seems appropriate to follow with a brief reading describ- 
ing strategies and tactics of non-violent direct action against 
preparation for war. The theory that informs these strategies 
grows out of the belief that, while orthodox methods of peace- 
making are usually acceptable as far as they go, they are not 
enough. Governments, "democratic" no less than "totalitar- 
ian," are weighted down with a kind of inertia that seems to 
take them, despite the professions of their leaders to the con- 
trary, down the road to war. As though in an hypnotic trance, 
societies become captives of slogans ("peace through strength," 
"armament build-ups for negotiation") and of a traditional 
reliance on violence. The non-violent direct actionist seeks to 
break through this inertia, to dramatize his doubt about the 
slogans, and to challenge the very assumptions of the existing 
international order. 

Finally, we are invited in Reading 22 to imagine a nation 
converted to ideas resembling those of William Penn and Gan- 
dhi. It would, of course, abolish its military defenses and seek 
to use only non-violent resistance to oppose and frustrate inva- 
sion. In specific terms, how would it do this and what kinds of 
preparation would be required? What changes in attitude 
would be entailed? What results could be expected? 

In answering questions of this kind one cannot, of course, 
reply with any great certainty; for most men appear to think 


that as individuals they can do little or nothing to prevent war, 
and no large modern nation has ever renounced military de- 
fense. The basis for our replies must, therefore, be general 
ethical and psychological considerations and the indirect ex- 
perience afforded by the case studies examined in earlier read- 

It might be observed, however, that advocacy of unilateral 
disarmament is no longer a vision of wild dreamers. In recent 
years, it has been seriously supported in Great Britain. Thus 
Stephen King-Hall, a former commander in the British Navy, 
suggested a version of it for Britain in 1958. x Walter Millis, 
America's noted military historian, speaks of the "uselessness 
of military power," 2 and he goes on to assert that were the 
United States to divest itself of its arms unilaterally it would 
be far safer than it is today. Professor Charles Osgood of the 
University of Illinois, while not advocating unilateral disarma- 
ment, has pressed the case for "unilateral initiatives" that 
would relax the international atmosphere and make genuine 
negotiations possible. Finally, the present writer has worked 
out a scheme for phased unilateral disarmament by the United 
States. 3 It would involve such measures as complete nuclear 
and non-nuclear disarmament within six years; simultaneous 
development of an organized system for non-violent resistance 
to invasion; diversion of resources now used to support the 
military to economic and social development; and a planned 
program for re-employment of those now working in arma- 
ments and supporting industries. 

Reading 22 is in effect saying that we should be searching 
for realistic methods of national defense and discarding such 
unrealistic means as military power. 

1 Stephen King-Hall, Defence in the Nuclear Age (London: Gol- 
lancz, 1958). 

2 "The Uselessness of Military Power," in America Armed: 
Essays on United States Military Policy, ed. by Robert A. Goldwin 
(Chicago: Rand McNally, 1963). 

3 Mulford Sibley, Unilateral Initiatives and Disarmament (Phila- 
delphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1962). 

16. Isaac Sharpless: COLONIAL PENNSYL- 

In 1654, Oliver Cromwell received an unusual letter from 
the Quaker George Fox. In the letter, Fox said: 1 

God is my witness, by whom I am moved to give this 
forth for the Truth's sake, from him whom the world calls 
George Fox; who is the son of God who is sent to stand a 
witness against all violence and against all the works of 
darkness, and to turn people from the darkness to the 
light, and to bring them from the occasion of the war 
and from the occasion of the magistrate's sword. . . . 

In effect, as Frederick Tolles remarks, on this and other oc- 
casions Fox was "demanding nothing less than that the military 
ruler of all England should forthwith disavow all violence and 
all coercion, make Christ's law of love the supreme law of the 
land, and substitute the mild dictates of the Sermon on the 
Mount for the Instrument of Government by which he ruled." 2 

But Cromwell, of course, remained unconvinced. 

Later on, however, another Quaker, William Penn, initiated 
the famous "Holy Experiment" in Pennsylvania. In it, he 
sought to apply Quaker principles to the sphere of politics and 
government and to demonstrate that a non-violent society 
could indeed be established. Colonial Pennsylvania down to 
1756— when Quakers surrendered control of the Provincial As- 
sembly—became one of the most remarkable efforts in the 
history of mankind to build a warless community in which 
exact equity would prevent violence and coercion would be 
reduced to a bare minimum. The present reading deals at 
some length with this experiment, concentrating on Indian re- 
lations and on problems of maintaining intact the Quaker 
"testimony" against military violence. 

Pennsylvania was founded on the proposition that if Indians 

1 The Journal of George Fox, rev. ed. by John L. Nickalls 
(Cambridge University Press, 1952), pp. 274-75, 197-98. 

2 Frederick B. Tolles, Quakerism and Politics (Guilford College, 
North Carolina, 1956), p. 4. 


were amply compensated for their lands and were treated on a 
basis of equality with white men, Indian wars and massacres 
would not occur. The difficulties were, of course, many, and 
were complicated by the colony's internal politics and by the 
demands of the British government. As time went on, the 
principles of the colony's founders became increasingly difficult 
to apply, and the society never attained the level of Fox's 
ethic. Yet these compromises should not be exaggerated. When 
all is said that can be said against the obfuscations and eva- 
sions of the Quaker Assembly, it did succeed in building a 
workable non-violent commonwealth and in living at peace 
with the Indians for about seventy years, and few political so- 
cieties in history can boast a comparable record. When at last 
external factors brought the "Holy Experiment" to an end, the 
Quaker majority in the Assembly resigned, for they saw that 
they could make no further compromises without undermining 
their basic convictions about non-violence and the nature of 

The author of the reading, Isaac Sharpless (1848-1920), 
was for many years a leading Quaker educator, who became 
dean and later president of Haverford College. The material is 
taken from Chapters VI and VII of his book A Quaker Experi- 
ment in Government. (Philadelphia: A. J. Ferris, 1898) 


No phase of early Pennsylvania history needs less defense 
than the Indian policy of the colonists. The "Great Treaty" at 
Shackamaxon has been immortalized by West on canvas and 
Voltaire in print, and historians have not hesitated to do it 
ample justice. The resulting seventy years of peace and friend- 
ship, as contrasted with the harassing and exterminating wars 
on the boundaries of nearly all the other colonies, attest its 
practical utility. The date of the treaty is more or less uncer- 
tain, its place rests on tradition, and its objects are not posi- 
tively known. 3 It seems probable that it occurred in June, 
1683, under the elm tree whose location is now marked by a 
stone, and that it was held for the double purpose of making a 
league of friendship and of purchasing lands. 

There can be no doubt of Penn's benevolent intentions re- 
garding the Indians. The Quaker doctrine of universal di- 
vine light seemed to give encouragement to do missionary 
work among them. George Fox again and again in his letters 

3 Pennsylvania Magazine, Vol. VI., pp. 217-38. Article by Fred- 
erick D. Stone, which is frequently used in the succeeding pages. 


urges ministers to convey to the Indians the messages of 
Christ's life and death, and God's love for them. 4 The Indians 
responded as if they knew the reality of the indwelling of the 
Great Spirit. On that point their theory and that of the Quakers 
agreed, and this may have been the basis of the bond of sym- 
pathy which existed between them. 

On the "18th of the Eighth month (October), 1681," the 
Proprietor sent by his cousin and deputy, William Markham, 
a letter 5 to the Indians, simple, brief and kindly, admirably 
adapted to dispose them favorably to him. He had been author- 
ized by his charter "to reduce the savage nations by gentle and 
just manners to the love of civil society and Christian religion." 
He was evidently greatly interested in them, as his long and 
elaborate descriptions sent home on the basis of rather insuffi- 
cient knowledge testify; and he seems to have had great hopes 
of making acquisitions to Christianity among them. 

He saw, however, that Christian sentiment alone would not 
advance the standard or even prevent the degradation of In- 
dian morality. He knew at least partly the character of frontier 
traders, the valuable bargains to be obtained from a drunken 
Indian, and the weakness of Indian character in the face of 
sensual temptations. Whatever he could do to lessen these evils 
he stood ready to attempt. He refused an advantageous offer 
when he needed money badly lest he should barter authority 
to irresponsible people to the disadvantage of the Indian. "I did 
refuse a great temptation last Second-day, which was £.6000 

4 "You must instruct and teach your Indians and negroes and 
all others how that Christ by the grace of God tasted death for 
every man, and gave himself a ransom for all men, and is the pro- 
pitiation not for the sins of Christians only but for the sins of the 
whole world."-G. F., in 1679. 

"And God hath poured out his spirit upon all flesh, and so the 
Indians must receive God's spirit. . . . And so let them know that 
they have a day of salvation, grace and favor of God offered unto 
them; if they will receive it it will be their blessing."— G. F.. in 

5 "My Friends: There is a great God and power that hath made 
the world and all things therein, to whom you and I and all people 
owe their being and well-being; to whom you and I must one day 
give an account for all that we do in the world. 

"This great God hath written his law in our hearts, by which we 
are commanded to live and help and do good to one another. Now 
this great God hath been pleased to make me concerned in your 
part of the world, and the King of the country where I live hath 
given me a great province therein, but I desire to enjoy it with your 
love and consent, that we may always live together as neighbors and 
friends. . . ." 


... to have wholly to itself the Indian trade from south to 
north between the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers. . . . 
But as the Lord gave it to me over all and great opposition 
... I would not abuse His love nor act unworthy of His provi- 
dence, and so defile what came to me clean." 

There is additional proof of the correctness of this statement 
in a letter of one of the intending purchasers, James Claypoole: 
"He (W. P.) is offered great things,— <£ 6,000 for a monopoly 
in trade, which he refused. ... I believe truly he does aim 
more at justice and righteousness and spreading of truth than 
at his own particular gain." 

William Penn had paid King Charles £16,000 for Pennsyl- 
vania. He recognized, however, the Indian claims to the same 
territory, and was ready to purchase them. Moreover, as he 
determined never to engage in warfare with the natives, and 
was trustful in the efficacy of justice and reason to settle all 
disputes, he would begin with a friendly bargain with them for 
the land he was to occupy. 

The purchase of lands of the Indians was no new thing. . . . 

What seems to have impressed the Indians was the fact that 
Penn insisted on purchase at the first and all subsequent agree- 
ments as being an act of justice, to which both parties were to 
give their assent voluntarily. They also felt that the price paid 
was ample to extinguish their claims, and that no advantages 
were taken by plying them with drink or cheating them with 
false maps. . . . 

Practically the whole of Pennsylvania was purchased of the 
Indians, some of it several times over. . . . 

During Penn's lifetime the relations continued so good that 
there was no difficulty in restraining unruly Indians. We find 
in the early minutes of the Council several complaints against 
Indians for stealing the settlers' hogs. The kings were sent for 
and presumably settled the matter. 

Penn writes, in 1685, of the Indians: 

If any of them break our laws they submit to be pun- 
ished by them; and to this they have tied themselves by an 
obligation under their hands. 

6 Hazard's Annals of Pennsylvania, p. 522. 


He was equally desirous to punish white trespassers on In- 
dian rights. The great difficulty was to keep settlers off lands 
not already purchased. During his lifetime, he bought so far in 
advance of settlement that he managed to avoid any sense of 
injury on the part of the Indians. Later in the history of the 
Colony the problem became a serious one. 

Another cause of complaint was the demoralization wrought 
by rum. . . . 

The Friends who had settled at Burlington in advance of 
Penn's purchase of Pennsylvania had very early seen the ef- 
fects of the sale. By 1685 the Yearly Meeting was convinced 
on the subject, and "doth unanimously agree, and give as their 
judgment, that it is not consistent with the honor of Truth for 
any that make profession thereof to sell rum or other strong 
liquors to the Indians . . . 

The Indian chiefs were sensible of the honesty of these ef- 
forts. In a conference held about 1687, one of them spoke as 
follows: 7 

The strong liquor was first sold us by the Dutch, and 
they are blind; they had no eyes, they did not see it was 
for our hurt. The next people that came among us were 
the Swedes, who continued the sale of the strong liquors 
to us; they were also blind, they had no eyes . . . But now 
there is a people come to live among us that have eyes; 
they see it to be for our hurt; they are willing to deny 
themselves the profit of it for our good. 

At the time of the death of Penn the relations between the 
whites and Indians could not well be improved. While there 
were individual outrages on the Indians, and individual steal- 
ings from the whites, they were punished as completely as the 
circumstances would admit, and never produced ill feeling. 
The frontier was safe from marauders, tomahawks and scalp- 
ing knives were unknown, and traders carried on their business 
with safety. A perfect confidence in the fairness of Penn and 
the Quakers existed among the Indians, which in time deep- 
ened into an abiding respect. 

As lands became more in demand for settlement, difficulties 
increased. But it was a different spirit in the white negotiators, 
rather than inherent perplexities, which drove the red men first 
to estrangement, then to hostility, then to bloody revenge, mak- 
ing them an easy prey to French machinations. Much was said 
at the time about the peace policy of the Quakers making the 
Province insecure against French and Indian attack. A more 

7 Janney's Life of William Penn, p. 123. 


profound study would indicate that that insecurity was prima- 
rily caused by rank injustice to the Indians at the hands of the 
sons and successors of William Penn. A policy of peace and 
one of justice combined may be successful; it is hardly fair, 
however, to provoke attack by iniquity and then saddle the 
inevitable consequences upon the lack of preparation for mili- 
tary resistance. Had the sons of Penn maintained the confi- 
dence and friendship of the Indians, an effective buffer against 
all hostile French designs would have existed, and Pennsyl- 
vania been spared the horrors of 1755 and succeeding years. 
This friendship, notwithstanding the increasing pressure on the 
Indian lands, might have been maintained, had there been no 
deceitful measures which left the red man quiet but sullen, 
with a brooding sense of wrong, and desire for revenge. Even 
then he seems to have understood that the Quaker was his 
friend and shielded him in his frontier raids. It is said that only 
three members of that sect were killed by the Indians in the 
Pennsylvania troubles, and they had so far abandoned their 
ordinary trustful attitude as to carry guns in defense. 8 

There were inherent difficulties in preventing rum being fur- 
nished to the Indians, and in keeping settlers off their hands. 
Charles Thomson 9 says, in the case of the rum, that while am- 
ple promises were held out to them, they were never kept. In 
1722 the Indians told Governor Keith that they "could live 
contentedly and grow rich if it were not for the quantities of 
rum that is suffered to come among them contrary to what 
William Penn promised them." Again in 1727 they complain 
of traders who cheat them, and give them rum and not powder 
and shot, so that the Indians nearly starve. The Governor in 
reply to this said he could not control traders, that Indians and 
whites all would cheat, and that they were at liberty to break 
in the heads of all rum casks. . . . The Scotch-Irish and Ger- 
mans were pressing in at a tremendous rate and cared nothing 
for Indian titles. It seemed to them absurd to allow Indians a 
great stretch of fertile land for hunting purposes only. Some- 
times the settlers were removed, at other times the Indians 
were satisfied by payments, but they still felt aggrieved as they 
saw their lands melting away before the ubiquitous whites. 

These causes, while adding to the general discontent, would 
not with proper management have produced serious disaffec- 
tion had they not been re-enforced by a few cases of glaring 

8 Dymond, Essay on War. 

9 An Enquiry into the Cause of the Alienation of the Indians, 
1759. The facts which follow are mainly derived from this book. 
C. T. was afterwards secretary of the Continental Congress and 
author of a translation of the Bible. 


injustice. The first of these was the notorious "Walking Pur- 

In a treaty in 1728 James Logan said that William Penn 
never allowed lands to be settled till purchased of the Indians. 
Ten years before he had shown to their chiefs deeds covering 
all lands from Duck Creek, in Delaware, to the "Forks of the 
Delaware," 10 and extending back along the "Lechoy Hills" to 
the Susquehanna. The Indians admitted this and confirmed the 
deeds, but objected to the settlers crowding into the fertile 
lands within the forks occupied by the Minisink tribe of the 
Delaware Indians. Logan accordingly forbade any surveying 
in the Minisink country. White settlers, however, were not re- 
strained, and the Indians became still more uneasy. A tract of 
10,000 acres sold by the Penns to be taken up anywhere in the 
unoccupied lands of the Province, was chosen here and opened 
for settlement. A lottery was established by the Proprietors, 
the successful tickets calling for amounts of land down to 200 
acres, and many of these were assigned in the Forks, without 
Indian consent. 

In order to secure undisputed possession and drive out the 
Delawares, who it must be remembered had always been more 
than friendly, a despicable artifice was resorted to, which will 
always disgrace the name of Thomas Penn. A deed of 1686 of 
doubtful authenticity was produced, confirming to William 
Penn a plot of ground beginning on the Delaware River a short 
distance above Trenton, running west to Wrightstown, in Bucks 
county, thence northwest parallel to the Delaware River as far 
as a man could walk in a day and a half, which was no doubt 
intended to extend to the Lehigh Hills, thence eastward by an 
undefined line, left blank in the deed, presumably along the 
hills to the Delaware River at Easton. It was one of numerous 
purchases of a similar character which in the aggregate con- 
veyed to William Penn all southeastern Pennsylvania, and had 
with his careful constructions made no trouble. The walk, how- 
ever, had never been taken, and in 1737 the Proprietors 
brought out the old agreement as a means of securing a title 
to the Minisink country. 

The route was surveyed, underbrush cleared away, horses 
stationed to convey the walkers across the rivers, two athletic 
young men trained for the purpose, and conveyances provided 
for their baggage and provisions. Indians attended at the be- 
ginning, but after repeatedly calling to the men to walk, not 
run, retired in disgust. Far from stopping at the Lehigh Hills, 
they covered about sixty miles and extended the line thirty 
miles beyond the Lehigh River. Then to crown the infamy, in- 

10 Between the Delaware and Lehigh rivers, where Easton now 


stead of running the northern line by any reasonable course 
they slanted it to the northeast and included all the Minisink 
country. It was a gross travesty on the original purchase, an 
outrageous fraud on the Indians, which they very properly re- 
fused to submit to. They remained in their ancestral homes, 
and sent notice they would resist removal by force. There un- 
fortunately seems to be no doubt of the iniquity of the trans- 
action. There is the testimony of at least two witnesses to the 
walk. It appears to have been a common subject of remark. In- 
different men treated it as sharp practice, and honest men were 
ashamed. But the Proprietors had a sort of a title to the fertile 
lands along the Delaware. 

Finally the Penns concluded at one stroke to extinguish all 
Indian titles to Western Pennsylvania. The rest was practically 
their own. The Indian chiefs were collected at Albany, and by 
means which will not bear examination were induced to sign 
the contract. . . . 

The victory over Braddock turned all doubtful Indians into 
the ranks of the hostiles. The fall of 1755 and spring of 1756 
were dire seasons for the frontiers of Pennsylvania. The burn- 
ing of houses, the shooting down of men, the outrages on 
women and children, the flight to places of safety, the demands 
for protection from government and friendly Indians,— from all 
these things the policy of William Penn had shielded the settlers 
for seventy-three years. The very tribes with which he had 
formed his treaties, which were always so warm in their friend- 
ships for him, which had been the victims of the "Walking 
Purchase," been branded as women by the Six Nations, and 
moved about from place to place,— the Delawares and the 
Shawnees,— now proved as fierce as any. All that the brilliant 
author of the History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac has said of 
their general peacefulness was disproved. When ill-treated they 
had their bloody revenge, exactly as in New England. They 
showed no lack of Indian spirit. Hitherto overcome by the 
superior numbers and organization of the Iroquois, they now 
under French tutelage and a sense of wrong turned on their 
oppressors and proved their equality in endurance, in resource 
and in cruelty. That Pennsylvania was saved by the just and 
pacific policy of the first settlers, and would have suffered just 
as the other colonies did by the reverse, seems as probable as 
any historical conclusion. 



Of all Friendly ideas the most difficult to incorporate prac- 
tically into government machinery was that of peace. The un- 
compromising views which most Quakers held as to the iniquity 
of all war, seemed to those outside the Society Utopian if not 
absurd, and did not command the united support of its own 
membership. That justice and courtesy should characterize all 
dealings with other states, that no aggressive war could ever be 
justified, that in almost every case war could be honorably 
avoided, all were willing to endorse and practice, but a minor- 
ity, probably a small minority, held that circumstances might 
arise when war like defense was necessary and proper, and 
that the Sermon on the Mount was not to be interpreted any 
more literally when it commanded "Resist not evil" than when 
it commanded "Lay not up treasures on earth." 

The general tenor of authoritative Quaker teaching, how- 
ever, admitted no such interpretation. It is not found in the 
writings of Fox, Barclay, Penington or Penn. Their language 
is always unequivocal in opposition to all war. The Quaker 
converts among Cromwell's soldiers, of whom there were not 
a few, left the ranks for conscience' sake as uniformly and as 
unhesitatingly as the Christian converts of the early centuries 
abandoned the Roman armies, with the plea, "I am a Christian, 
and therefore cannot fight." 

"Not fighting, but suffering," says William Penn 11 in 1694, 
"is another testimony peculiar to this people. . . . Thus as 
truth-speaking succeeded swearing, so faith and patience suc- 
ceed fighting in the doctrine and practice of this people. Nor 
ought they for this to be obnoxious to civil government; since 
if they cannot fight for it neither can they fight against it, which 
is no mean security to any state. Nor is it reasonable that peo- 
ple should be blamed for not doing more for others than they 
can do for themselves." 

We have important testimony to Penn's position in the un- 
sympathetic statement of James Logan. 12 After expressing his 
own view that all government was founded on force, he says: 
"I was therefore the more surprised when I found my master 
on a particular occasion on our voyage hither (in 1699), 
though coming over to exercise the powers of it here in his 
own person, showed his sentiments were otherwise." He adds 
that "Friends had laid it down as their principle, that bearing 
of arms, even for self-defense, is unlawful." 

There seems therefore no doubt that the Society had with 

11 The Rise and Progress of the People Called Quakers. 

12 Pennsylvania Magazine, Vol. VI., p. 404. 


practical unanimity accepted military non-resistance in its most 
extreme form. 

It was easy to hold peace views as an academic proposition, 
supported by the spirit and letter of the New Testament; but 
when the actual problems of government arose how was this 
non-resistant principle to be applied to the protection of society 
against criminals? This logical difficulty does not seem to have 
troubled the early Pennsylvanians. So far as appears they 
drew a line between police and military measures, mak- 
ing one effective and barring out the other. There was to them 
no contradiction to call for explanation. With strict logic they 
might have been driven to the position of Count Tolstoi, 13 
who carries his non-resistance so far as to object to all govern- 
ment, and all restraint on criminals. Or the line might be sup- 
posed to be drawn on the sacredness of human life, but, as we 
have seen, opposition to capital punishment, per se, never arose 
before the Revolution. Probably if pressed for an answer to 
the question why it was right to resist a street mob of subjects 
with police and not to resist an attacking force with soldiers, 
they would have replied that one act was in defense of life 
and property under authority of civil powers "ordained of 
God," and involving no iniquitous means, while all military 
measures necessarily included the destruction of life and prop- 
erty, of innocent as well as of guilty, and reversed the estab- 
lished rules of morality in sanctioning stealing, lying, and kill- 
ing those who were not personally offenders. 

The Quaker Assembly of 1740, in their ethical controversy 
with Governor Thomas, argued thus: "And yet it is easy to 
discover the difference between killing a soldier fighting (per- 
haps) in obedience to the commands of his sovereign, and 
who may possibly think himself in the discharge of his duty, 
and executing a burglar who broke into our houses, plundered 
us of our goods, and perhaps would have murdered too if he 
could not otherwise have accomplished his ends, who must 
know at the time of the commission of the act, it was a viola- 
tion of laws, human and divine, and that he thereby justly 
rendered himself obnoxious to the punishment which en- 
sued." 14 

Penn did not hesitate to commend force in civil affairs when 
necessary. "If lenitives would not do, coercives should be tried; 
but though men would naturally begin with the former, yet 
wisdom had often sanctioned the latter as remedies which, 

13 See, for example, Leo Tolstoy's novel Resurrection and his 
essay The Kingdom of God Is Within You.— Ed. 

14 Colonial Records, Vol. IV., p. 373. 


however, were never to be adopted without regret," he wrote 
in 1700. 15 The whole machinery of courts and police was in- 
tended to be effective in resisting crime and criminals. All pris- 
ons were more or less work-houses, and the reformation idea 
had larger vogue than in some places, but there was no hesita- 
tion apparent to secure by force the ascendency of law. 

The position they took was probably this: We will never do 
an injustice, provoke a war, or attack an enemy. If attacked 
we will, therefore, always be in the right. We cannot do wrong 
even to defend the right, but will trust that having done our 
duty, Providence will protect us. Beyond this we cannot go. 16 

Penn had authority by his Charter "to levy, muster and 
train all sorts of men of what condition or wheresoever born 
in the said province of Pennsylvania for the time being, and to 
make war and pursue the enemies and robbers aforesaid as 
well by sea as by land, yea even without the limits of said 
province, and by God's assistance to vanquish and take them, 
and being taken to put them to death by the law of war, or 
save them at their pleasure, and to do all and every act or thing 
which to the charge and office of a Captain-general belongeth, 
as fully and freely as any Captain-general of an army hath 
ever had the same." 

These powers were doubtless ample for a peaceable Quaker. 
He could not exercise them himself without trampling on the 
views to which he was indelibly committed. The power to use 
them implied the power to transmit them, and this is just what 
Penn did. 

He was in a delicate position. He was, as feudal lord of the 
province, liable to be called upon to support Britain's causes 
by force of arms against Britain's enemies. This he could not 
personally do, but if the Deputy-Governor had no conscience 
in the matter, Penn would not interpose to prevent obedience 
to the commands of the Crown. He selected non-Quaker dep- 
uties, and doubtless this consideration had its effect in inducing 
the choice. If some were inclined to criticize him for appoint- 
ing others to perform acts he could not do himself, it must be 
remembered that deeds concerning whose culpability differ- 
ences may properly exist, are evil or good for an individual, 

15 Janney's Life of Penn, p. 441. 

16 In a pamphlet printed in 1748, entitled The Doctrine of Chris- 
tianity as held by the people called Quakers Vindicated, in an- 
swer to Gilbert Tennent's sermon on the "Lawfulness of War," 
substantially this position was taken. The pamphlet appeared anon- 
ymously, but is known to have been written by a Friend of promi- 
nence, closely connected with James Logan, who doubtless was 
expressing the recognized views of the Society. A copy is in the 
Philadelphia Library. 


dependent on the attitude of his own conscience. The Friends 
never asked a man to violate conscience, and recognized the 
differences due to education, enlightenment and mental con- 
stitution. If others honestly thought war right, it was right for 
them. Hence the actions of the Deputy were not of the char- 
acter which involved evil-doing on his part, even though the 
same actions would have been evil for Penn himself. Such was 
Paul's attitude, and such was probably Penn's argument. . . . 

The first trial of Quaker faith had, however, occurred prior 
to this, in 1689. The Crown had suggested that in order to de- 
fend the Colony against an attempted attack by the French, 
a militia should be formed. Governor Blackwell urged this, 
and he was supported by Markham and the non-Quaker por- 
tion of the Council. The Friends refused to have anything to 
do with it. They told the Governor that if he desired a militia 
he had power to create one, and they would not interfere if it 
did not offend any consciences. 

John Simcock said: "I see no danger but from bears and 
wolves. We are well and in peace and quiet; let us keep our- 
selves so. I know not but a peaceable spirit and that will do 
well. For my part I am against it clearly." 

Samuel Carpenter said: "I am not against those that will put 
themselves into defense, but it being contrary to the judgment 
of a great part of the people, and my own, too, I cannot ad- 
vise the thing nor express my liking for it. . . ." 

After much discussion the five Quaker members of Council 
asked leave to retire for a conference. On their return they 
announced, "We would not tie others' hands, but we cannot 
act. We would not take upon us to hinder any, and do not think 
the Governor need call us together in this matter. . . . We 
say nothing against it, and regard it as a matter of conscience 
to us. ... I had rather be ruined than violate my conscience 
in this case." 17 The matter was dropped. 

Again in 1693, Governor Fletcher, who was also Governor 
of New York, in the interval of Penn's deposition, asked the 
Assembly for money to support a war against the French and 
Indians of Canada, which had been raging on their frontiers. 
He knew the difficulties. "If there be any among you that scru- 
ple the giving of money to support war, there are a great many 
other charges in that government for the support thereof, as 
officers' salaries. . . . Your money shall be converted into 

17 Colonial Records, Vol. II., p. 470. Samuel Carpenter, who ex- 
pressed this sentiment, was adjudged the richest man in the Prov- 


these uses and shall not be dipt in blood." 18 Upon the basis of 
this promise, after some delay, the money was voted. 

In May, 1695, a requisition was made on Pennsylvania for 
eighty men with officers for the defense of New York. The 
Council advised calling together the Assembly, but not until 
harvest was over. The Assembly united with the Council in re- 
fusing the bald request, reminding the Governor of Fletcher's 
promise that the last appropriation should not "be dipt in 
blood," but should be used "to feed the hungry and clothe the 
naked" Indians, and suggested that such of it as had not been 
used as promised should go towards the present emergency. 
The Council finally offered two bills, one to make an appro- 
priation, and one to demand a return to Penn's Frame of Gov- 
ernment, which was held in abeyance since his return to 
power. As the Governor had to take both or neither he dis- 
solved the Assembly. A year later he was willing to make the 
required concession, and urged that the money was needed in 
New York "for food and raiment to be given to those nations 
of Indians that have lately suffered extremely by the French. 
..." The Assembly made the necessary vote and the Con- 
stitution of 1696 was obtained in payment. 

The next time the pacific principles of the Assembly were 
tried was in 1701, when the English Government asked for 
.£350 for the purpose of erecting forts on the frontiers of New 
York on the plea that they were for the general defense. Penn, 
who was then in the Province, faithfully observed his promise 
"to transmit," but declined to give any advice to the Assembly. 
The members were evidently greatly agitated, and repeatedly 
asked copies of his speech, which was in fact only the King's 
letter. After some fencing two reports appeared. One, from 
the Pennsylvania delegates, urged their poverty, owing to taxes 
and quit-rents, also the lack of contributions of other colonies, 
but added plainly, "We desire the Proprietor would candidly 
represent our conditions to the King, and assure him of our 
readiness (according to our abilities) to acquiesce with and 
answer his commands so far as our religious persuasions shall 
permit, as becomes loyal and faithful subjects so to do." 19 The 
other answer came from the Delaware portion of the Assem- 
bly, excusing themselves because they had no forts of their 

When the Assembly met, a month later, Penn again referred 
to the King's letter, but nothing was done, and the matter was 
not pressed. 

18 Colonial Records, Vol. I., p. 361. 
i»Ibid., Vol. II., p. 26. 


Governor Evans made several attempts to establish a militia, 
but the Assembly refused any sanction, and the voluntary or- 
ganizations were failures. 

The military question came up in 1709 in a more serious 
form. An order came from the Queen to the various colonies 
to furnish quotas of men at their own expense towards an 
army to invade Canada. New York was to supply 800, Con- 
necticut 350, Jersey 200, and Pennsylvania 150. In transmit- 
ting the order Governor Gookin, who evidently anticipated 
difficulty, suggested that the total charge would be about 
£4,000. He says, "Perhaps it may seem difficult to raise such 
a number of men in a country where most of the inhabitants 
are of such principles as will not allow them the use of arms; 
but if you will raise the sum for the support of government, I 
don't doubt getting the number of men desired whose princi- 
ples will allow the use of arms." 20 

This was too manifest an evasion for the Assembly to adopt. 
Its first answer was to send in a bill of grievances. The oppor- 
tunity was too good to be lost, and David Lloyd, then Speaker, 
made the most of it. 

In the meantime the Quaker members of the Council met 
some of their co-religionists of the Assembly "and there de- 
bated their opinions freely and unanimously to those of the 
House, that notwithstanding their profession and principles 
would not by any means allow them to bear arms, yet it was 
their duty to support the government of their sovereign, the 
Queen, and to contribute out of their estates according to the 
exigencies of her public affairs, and therefore they might and 
ought to present the Queen with a proper sum of money." 21 

The Assembly the next day sent an address to the Governor 
which said, "Though we cannot for conscience' sake comply 
with the furnishing a supply for such a defense as thou pro- 
posest, yet in point of gratitude of the Queen for her great and 
many favors to us we have resolved to raise a present of <£500 
which we humbly hope she will be pleased to accept, etc., 
etc." 22 

To this the Governor replied that he would not sign the 
bill. If the Assembly would not hire men to fight, there was no 
scruple which would prevent a more liberal subscription to the 
Queen's needs. The Assembly was immovable, and asked to be 
allowed to adjourn, as harvest time was approaching. 

The Governor refused consent, when the House abruptly 
terminated the whole matter. 

20 Ibid., p. 740. 
2i Ibid., p. 478. 
22 Ibid., p. 479. 


Resolved, N.C.D., That this House cannot agree to the 
Governor's proposal, directly or indirectly, for the expe- 
dition to Canada, for the reasons formerly given. 

Resolved, N.C.D., That the House do continue their 
resolution of raising £500 as a present for the Queen, 
and do intend to prepare a bill for that purpose at their 
next meeting on the 15th of August next, and not before. 23 

The House then adjourned without waiting for the Gover- 
nor's consent. 

In 1711 a similar request was made by the Government, 
and in response £2,000 was voted for the Queen's use. This 
money never aided any military expedition, but was appro- 
priated by a succeeding Governor to his own use, and the fact 
was used as an argument in 1740 against similar grants. 24 

Then followed the thirty-years peace, when no calls for 
military service or money were made. Occasionally the Gov- 
ernor would think it necessary to establish a militia, when the 
Assembly would caution him to make it purely voluntary and 
force no conscience. There were friendly relations with the 
Indians. No European troubles necessitated money or troops 
for Canadian attack or defense. But, beginning with 1737, the 
gradual alienation of the Indian tribes made a disturbed fron- 
tier ready to be dangerous at the first outbreak of war, and 
new conditions prevailed. 

Hitherto the relation of the Friends to these inevitable mili- 
tary solicitations had been largely that of passivity. They would 
not interfere with the movements of those who desired to form 
military companies. If the Governor chose to engage in the 
arming and drilling of voluntary militia, he had his commission 
from the Proprietors, and they from the Charter of Charles II. 
It was no matter for the Assembly. The meeting organizations 
would endeavor to keep all Quakers from any participation in 
these un-Friendly proceedings, and the Quaker Assembly- 
men had their own consciences to answer to, as well as their 
ecclesiastical authorities, if they violated pacific principles. 

When it came to voting money in lieu of personal service, 
the legislators had a difficult road to follow. If the govern- 
ment needed aid, it was their duty, in common with the other 
colonies, to supply it. Even though the need was the direct re- 
sult of war, as nearly all national taxes are, they were ready to 
assume their share of the burden. Caesar must have his dues 

23 Colonial Records, Vol. II., p. 486. 

24 Ibid., Vol. IV., p. 366, et seq. 


as well as God, and a call for money, except when coupled 
directly with a proposition to use it for military attack or de- 
fense, was generally responded to, after its potency as an 
agent in procuring a little more liberty was exhausted. They 
would not vote money for an expedition to Canada or to erect 
forts, but they would for "the King's use," using all possible 
securities to have it appropriated to something else than war 
expenses. The responsibility of expenditure rested on the King. 
There were legitimate expenses of government, and if these 
were so inextricably mingled with warlike outlay that the As- 
sembly could not separate them, they would still support the 

It is easy to accuse them of inconsistency in the proceedings 
which follow. It was a most unpleasant alternative thrust be- 
fore honest men. The responsibility of government was upon 
them as the honorable recipients of the popular votes. Great 
principles, the greatest of all in their minds being freedom of 
conscience, were at stake. Each call for troops or supplies they 
fondly hoped would be the last. Their predecessors' actions 
had secured the blessings of peace and liberty to Pennsylvania 
for sixty years, and if they were unreasonably stringent, their 
English enemies held over their heads the threat to drive them 
from power by the imposition of an oath. Then the persecu- 
tions of themselves and their friends, which their forefathers 
had left England to avoid, might be meted out to them, and 
the Holy Experiment brought to an end. 

Nor is it necessary to assume that their motives were en- 
tirely unselfish. They had ruled the Province well, and were 
proficients in government. Their leaders doubtless loved the 
power and influence they legitimately possessed, and they did 
not care to give it away unnecessarily. They tried to find a 
middle ground between shutting their eyes to all questions of 
defense on the one side, and direct participation in war on the 
other. This they sought by a refusal for themselves and their 
friends to do any service personally, and a further refusal to 
vote money except in a general way for the use of the govern- 
ment. If any one comes to the conclusion that during the latter 
part of the period of sixteen years now under consideration 
the evasion was rather a bald one, it is exactly the conclusion 
the Quakers themselves came to, and they resigned their places 
as a consequence. The iniquities of others over whom they 
had no control brought about a condition where Quaker prin- 
ciples would not work, and they refused to modify them in the 
vain attempt. For a time rather weakly halting, when the cru- 
cial nature of the question became clear, and either place or 
principle had to be sacrificed, their decision was in favor of 
the sanctity of principle. 

They were on the popular side of the questions of the day, 


in close association with Benjamin Franklin and others. The 
fact that these allies in their other battles were unwilling to 
stand by them on this question made their position especially 
difficult. They, however, always carried the popular Assembly 
against all combinations. 

In 1739, urged by the Proprietors, the Governor presented 
to the Assembly the dangers of the defenseless condition of the 
Province in the approaching war with Spain and asked for the 
establishment of a militia. 

This opened the way to an interchange of long argumenta- 
tive papers between Governor and Assembly in which the 
positions of the two parties were laid down with considerable 
ability. The Assembly said: "As very many of the inhabitants 
of this Province are of the people called Quakers, who, though 
they do not as the world is now circumstanced condemn the 
use of arms in others, yet are principled against it them- 
selves. . . ." 25 

To this the Governor replied that no religious opinions 
would protect the country against an invading force, and as 
representatives of the whole people, not of a denomination, 
they must defend the Province from external enemies as they 
did from criminals within, and that there was no intention to 
force any one's conscience. 

The Assembly reminded him that the Province had pros- 
pered under Quaker management for a number of years be- 
fore he had anything to do with it, and would in the future, if 
his misrepresentations should not prevail in England, even 
"though some Governors have been as uneasy and as willing 
and ready to find fault and suggest dangers as himself." 

The Governor in despair replies: "If your principles will 
not allow you to pass a bill for establishing a militia, if they 
will not allow you to secure the navigation of a river by build- 
ing a fort, if they will not allow you to provide arms for the 
defense of the inhabitants, if they will not allow you to raise 
men for his Majesty's service for distressing an insolent en- 
emy ... is it a calumny to say your principles are incon- 
sistent with the ends of government?" 

After pages of argument, . . . the Assembly refused to do 

Governor Thomas, under royal instructions, approached the 
same subject a year later with a similar result. . . . 

25 Colonial Records, Vol. IV., p. 366, et seq. 


In 1744 he used his authority as Captain-General in organiz- 
ing a voluntary force said by Franklin to amount to 10,000 
men. On this the Assembly took no action. 

The next year the Governor asked them to aid New Eng- 
land in an attack on Cape Breton. They told him they had no 
interest in the matter. He called them together again in harvest 
time to ask them to join in an expedition against Louisburg. A 
week later came word that Louisburg had surrendered, and 
the request was transferred to a call for aid in garrisoning the 
place, and in supplying provisions and powder. The Assembly 
replied that the "peaceable principles professed by divers 
members of the present Assembly do not permit them to join 
in raising of men or providing arms and ammunition, yet we 
have ever held it our duty to render tribute to Caesar." 26 
They therefore appropriated £4,000 for "bread, beef, pork, 
flour, wheat or other grain." The Governor was advised not 
to accept the grant, as provisions were not needed. He replied 
that the "other grain" meant gunpowder, and so expended a 
large portion of the money. 27 There is probably no evidence 
that the Assembly sanctioned this construction, though they 
never so far as appears made any protest. 

Again in 1746 aid was asked of the Assembly towards an 
expedition against Canada. After forcing the Governor to 
yield the point as to how the money should be raised, they ap- 
propriated £5,000 "for the King's use." 

This seems to have been the attitude of the Quaker As- 
sembly for the ten years to come. . . . 

In 1754 the Governor, at the instance of the Proprietors, 
who anticipated the French and Indian troubles on the west- 
ern frontier, endeavored to induce the Assembly to pass a 
bill for compulsory military service for those not conscien- 
tious about bearing arms. 28 He evidently did not expect 
much. . . . 

This was after the Assembly had voted £ 10,000, but cou- 
pled the grant with conditions the Governor would not accept. 

While they were debating the question Braddock came into 
the country as commander of the combined forces in an ex- 
pedition against Fort DuQuesne. Pressure came down strong 
and heavy on the Quaker Assembly. Their own frontier was 
invaded. Their own Indians, as a result of the wicked and fool- 

26 Ibid., p. 769. 

27 This is on the authority of Franklin. 

28 Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. II., p. 189. 


ish policy of their executive, were in league with the invaders. 
All classes were excited. To aid the great expedition which at 
one stroke was to break the French power and close the trou- 
bles was felt to be a duty. Franklin diligently fanned the war- 
like spirit, procuring wagons for the transfer of army stores, 
and was extremely valuable to the expedition at some cost to 

Braddock was defeated. The Indians were let loose on the 
frontiers. Daily accounts of harrowing scenes came up to the 
Council and Assembly. 29 Settlers moved into the towns and 
many districts were depopulated. Strong were the expressions 
of wrath against the Quakers, who were held responsible for 
the defenseless state of the Province. 30 

This was hardly a just charge, even from the standpoint of 
those who favored military defense, for the Assembly had 
signified its willingness to vote £.50,000, an unprecedented 
amount, to be provided by "a tax on all the real and personal 
estates within the Province," which the Governor refused to 
accept. While the matter was in abeyance the time for the new 
election of Assemblymen came around, and both parties, ex- 
cept the stricter Quakers, who were becoming alarmed, put 
forth their greatest exertions. The old Assembly was sustained, 
the Friends, with those closely associated with them, having 
twenty-six out of the thirty-six members. 

The new House went on with the work of the old. They 
adopted a militia law for those "willing and desirous" of join- 
ing companies for the defense of the Province. This is pref- 
aced by the usual declaration: "Whereas this Province was 
settled (and a majority of the Assembly have ever since been) 
of the people called Quakers, who though they do not as the 
world is now circumstanced condemn the use of arms in 
others, yet are principled against bearing arms themselves," 31 
explaining also that they are representatives of the Province 
and not of a denomination, they proceed to lay down rules for 
the organization of the volunteers. After the Proprietors had 
given their £5,000 the Assembly also voted £55,000 for the 
relief of friendly Indians and distressed frontiersmen, "and 
other purposes," without any disguise to the fact that much of 

29 Votes of Assembly, Vol. IV., pp. 481, 699. 

30 The people exclaim against the Quakers, and some are scarce 
restrained from burning the houses of those few who are in this 
town (Reading).— Letter of Edmund Biddle, Colonial Records, Vol. 
VI., p. 705. 

31 Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. I., p. 516. 


it was intended for military defense, though it was not so 
stated in the bill. Before this was done, while they were still in- 
sisting on taxing the Penn estates, in answer to the charge that 
they were neglectful of public interests, secure in the confi- 
dence of their constituents just most liberally given, they say: 
"In fine we have the most sensible concern for the poor dis- 
tressed inhabitants of the frontiers. We have taken every step 
in our power, consistent with the just rights of the freemen of 
Pennsylvania, for their relief, and we have reason to believe 
that in the midst of their distresses they themselves do not wish 
to go further. Those who would give up essential liberty to 
purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor 
safety ." 32 Their position definitely was, We will vote money 
liberally for defensive purposes, but we will take care to secure 
our rights as freemen, and we will not require any one to give 
personal service against his conscience. 

The money was largely spent in erecting and garrisoning a 
chain of forts extending along the Kittatinny hills from the 
Delaware River to the Maryland frontier. 33 

The amount of defense the Assembly had provided, while 
probably expressing the will of their constituents, did not sat- 
isfy the more peace-loving of the Friends on the one hand, 
nor the advocates of proprietary interests on the other. 

In Eleventh month 1755 twenty Friends, including Anthony 
Morris, Israel and John Pemberton, Anthony Benezet, John 
Churchman, and others, representing the most influential and 
"weighty" members of the Yearly Meeting, addressed the As- 
sembly. They say they are very willing to contribute to taxes 
to cultivate friendship with Indians, to relieve distress, or other 
benevolent purposes, but to expect them to be taxed for funds 
which are placed in the hands of committees to be expended 
for war, is inconsistent with their peaceable testimony, and 
an infringement of their religious liberties. Many Friends 
will have to refuse to pay such a tax and suffer distraint of 
goods, 34 and thus "that free enjoyment of liberty of con- 
science for the sake of which our forefathers left their native 
country and settled this then a wilderness by degrees be vio- 
lated." . . . 

As the Assembly was composed, this was an earnest plea 
from the responsible Friends to their fellow religionists to 

32 Votes of Assembly, Vol. IV., p. 501. 

33 Pennsylvania Magazine, July 1896. Dr. Stille on "The Fron- 
tier Forts of Pennsylvania." 

34 This afterwards happened in numerous cases. 


stand uncompromisingly by their principles. It was not very 
kindly received. . . . 

In the minds of the Friends the crisis was reached when the 
Governor and Council (William Logan, son of James Logan, 
only dissenting) in the spring of 1756 declared war against the 
Delaware Indians, the old allies and friends of William Penn, 
but now in league with the French and killing and plundering 
on the frontiers. They were quite sure that peaceful and just 
measures would detach the Indians from their alliance, and 
that war was unnecessary. The lines were becoming more 
closely drawn, and the middle ground was narrowing, so that 
it was impossible to stand upon it. Either the principle of the 
iniquity of war must be maintained in its entirety, or war 
must be vigorously upheld and prosecuted. Some Friends with 
Franklin took the latter position, but the great majority closed 
up their ranks around the principle of peace in its integrity. 
... In the same fall several . . . Friends declined re-election, 
and after the next House assembled four others, Mahlon Kirk- 
bride, William Hoyl, Peter Dicks and Nathaniel Pennock, also 
resigned. "Understanding that the ministry have requested the 
Quakers, who from the first settlement of the Colony have 
been the majority of the Assemblies of this Province, to suffer 
their seats during the difficult situation of the affairs of the 
Colonies to be filled by members of other denominations in 
such manner as to perform without any scruples all such laws 
as may be necessary to be enacted for the defense of the 
Province in whatever manner they may judge best suited to the 
circumstances of it; and notwithstanding we think this has been 
pretty fully complied with at the last election, yet at the re- 
quest of our friends, being willing to take off all possible ob- 
jection, we who have (without any solicitation on our part) 
been returned as representatives in this Assembly, request we 
may be excused, and suffered to withdraw ourselves and va- 
cate our seats in such manner as may be attended with the 
least trouble and most satisfactory to this honorable House." 35 

The places of all these Friends were filled by members of 
other religious denominations, and Quaker control over and 
responsibility for the Pennsylvania Assembly closed with 1756 
and was never resumed. 

35 Votes of Assembly, Vol. IV., p. 626. 

17. John Fiske: LAS CAS AS AND 

Bartolome de Las Casas (1474-1566) was a remarkable 
Dominican missionary who devoted a large part of his life to 
protecting Latin American Indians against servitude and mis- 
treatment at the hands of Spanish adventurers. He believed 
firmly in a universal human quality that would make even so- 
called savages respond favorably to gentle, sincere, and just 
treatment. In this famous essay, the eminent nineteenth-cen- 
tury American historian, John Fiske, describes Las Casas' jour- 
ney to the community of Indians just north of Guatemala, 
whose ferocity had caused the Spaniards to name the place the 
"Land of War." 

Las Casas regarded the "Land of War" as a great challenge 
to his moral convictions, and the story of how he persuaded its 
inhabitants to give up human sacrifice and live at peace with 
their neighbors is a dramatic one to which Fiske, because of 
his own beliefs, brought great sympathy. The style in which it 
is told may seem somewhat overly romantic to modern read- 
ers, but the episode remains a startling one in the history of 

Fiske (1842-1901) was the author of many significant 
works in philosophy, history, and political theory. This account 
is taken from his The Discovery of America (Boston: Hough- 
ton, 1892), pp. 464-73. 

While in the monastery at San Domingo, Las Casas had 
written his famous Latin treatise De unico vocationis modo, or 
the only proper method of calling men to Christianity. In these 
years of trial his mind had been growing in clearness and 
grasp. He had got beyond all sophistical distinctions between 
men of one colour and faith and men of another,— a wonder- 
ful progress for a Spaniard born eight years before the Moor 
was driven from Granada. He had come to see what was really 
involved in the Christian assumption of the brotherhood of 
men; and accordingly he maintained that to make war upon 
infidels or heathen, merely because they are infidels or hea- 


then, is sinful; and that the only right and lawful way of bring- 
ing men to Christ is the way of reason and persuasion. To set 
forth such a doctrine at that time and still keep clear of the In- 
quisition required consummate skilfulness in statement. This 
little book was never printed, but manuscript copies of the 
original Latin and of a Spanish translation were circulated, 
and called forth much comment. The illustrations drawn from 
American affairs exasperated the Spanish colonists, and they 
taunted Las Casas. He was only a vain theorizer, they said; 
the gospel of peace would be all very well in a world already 
perfect, but in our world the only practicable gospel is the 
gospel of kicks and blows. Go to, let this apostle try himself to 
convert a tribe of Indians and make them keep the peace; he 
will soon find that something more is needed than words of 
love. So said the scoffers, as they wagged their heads. 

Las Casas presently took them at their word. The province 
of Tuzulutlan, just to the north of Guatemala and bordering 
upon the peninsula of Yucatan, was called by the Spaniards 
the "Land of War." It was an inaccessible country of beetling 
crags, abysmal gorges, raging torrents, and impenetrable for- 
est. In their grade of culture the inhabitants seem to have re- 
sembled the Aztecs. They had idols and human sacrifices, and 
were desperate fighters. The Spaniards had three times invaded 
this country, and three times had been hurled back ... It 
could hardly be called a promising field, but this it was that 
Las Casas chose for his experiment. 1 

Let us note well his manner of proceeding, for there are 
those to-day who maintain that the type of character which 
Victor Hugo has sketched in Monseigneur Bienvenu is not cal- 
culated to achieve success in the world. The example of Las 
Casas, however, tends to confirm us in the opinion that when 
combined with sufficient intelligence, that type of character is 
the most indomitable and masterful of all. And in this I seem 
to see good promise for the future of humanity. The wisdom 
of the serpent, when wedded to the innocence of the dove, is 
of all things the most winning and irresistible, as Las Casas 
now proceeded to prove. 

Alvarado, the fierce governor of Guatemala, was absent in 
Spain. Las Casas talked with the temporary governor, Alonzo 
de Maldonado, and the result of their talk was the following 
agreement, signed May 2, 1537. It was agreed that "if Las 
Casas, or any of his monks, can bring these Indians into con- 
ditions of peace, so that they should recognize the Spanish 
monarch for their lord paramount, and pay him any moderate 
tribute, he, the governor, would place those provinces under 

1 A full account of the work of Las Casas in Tuzulutlan is in 
Remesal's Historia de Chiapa, lib. iii., cap. ix-xi, xv-xviii. 


his majesty in chief, and would not give them to any private 
Spaniard in encomienda. Moreover, no lay Spaniard, under 
heavy penalties, except the governor himself in person, should 
be allowed for five years to enter into that territory." 1 ' Ojedas 
and other such sinners were now, if possible, to be kept at a 
distance. No doubt Maldonado smiled in his sleeve when he 
signed his name to this agreement. Of course it could never 
come to anything. 

Thus guaranteed against interference, the good monks went 
to work, and after a due amount of preliminary fasting and 
prayer they began by putting into Quiche verses an epitome of 
Christian doctrine simple enough for children to apprehend, 
—the story of the fall of man, the life and death of Christ, the 
resurrection of the dead, and the final judgment. It is a pity 
that these verses have not been preserved, but no doubt Las 
Casas, whose great heart knew so well how to touch the secret 
springs of the Indian mind, knew how to make the story as at- 
tractive and as moving as possible. The verses were nicely 
balanced in couplets, so as to aid the memory, and were set to 
music so that they might be chanted to the accompaniment of 
the rude Indian instruments. Then the monks found four In- 
dian traders, who were in the habit of travelling now and then 
through the "Land of War" with goods to barter. They spent 
many weeks in winning the affection of these Indians and 
teaching them their sacred poem, explaining everything with 
endless patience, until the new converts knew it all by heart 
and felt able to answer simple questions about it. When the 
monks felt sure that the work was thoroughly done, they des- 
patched the four traders on their missionary errand to the 
pueblo of the most powerful cacique in that country, taking 
care to provide them with an ample store of mirrors, bells, 
Spanish knives, and other stuff attractive to barbarians. 

When the traders arrived at their destination they were hos- 
pitably received, and, according to custom, were lodged in the 
tecpan. They were zealous in their work, and obeyed their in- 
structions faithfully. After vending their wares as usual, they 
called for some Mexican drums or timbrels, and proceeded to 
chant their sacred couplets. They were well received. Indians 
uttering such strange sweet words must have seemed miracu- 
lously inspired, and so the audience thought. For several days 
the performance was repeated, and the traders were beset 
with questions. After a while they drew pictures of the tonsured 
monks, and said that they learned these mysteries from these 
holy men, who, although white men, were not like other Span- 
iards, for they spent their lives in doing good, they had no 
wives, they treated all women with respect, they cared nothing 

2 Arthur Helps, Spanish Conquest, Vol. Ill, p. 337. 


for gold, and they taught that the time had come for abolishing 
human sacrifices. The cacique became so interested as to send 
his younger brother back to Guatemala with the Indian trad- 
ers, charging him to watch the Dominicans narrowly, and if 
he should find them answering to the description that had been 
given of them he might invite them to visit Tuzulutlan. 

Thus the ice was broken. It is needless to say that the young 
chieftain was well received, or that he was satisfied with what 
he saw. The invitation was given, and one of the Dominicans, 
the noble Luis de Barbastro, who was the most fluent of the 
four in the Quiche language, now made his way into the in- 
accessible fastnesses of Tuzulutlan, escorted by the young chief 
and the Indian traders. By the first of November, six months 
after the beginning of the enterprise, Father Luis had con- 
verted the cacique and several clan chiefs, a rude church had 
been built, and human sacrifices prohibited by vote of the 
tribal council. Then Las Casas, with another monk, arrived 
upon the scene. There was much excitement among the tawny 
people of Tuzulutlan. The hideous priests of the war-god were 
wild with rage. They reminded the people, says Remesal, that 
the flesh of these white men, dressed with chile sauce, would 
make a dainty dish. Some secret incendiary burned the church, 
but as the cacique and so many clan chiefs had been gained, 
there was no open rebellion. Before another year had elapsed 
the Indians had voluntarily destroyed their idols, renounced 
cannibalism, and promised to desist from warfare unless actu- 
ally invaded. And now were to be seen the fruits of the mas- 
terly diplomacy of Las Casas. Though the cacique had thrice 
defeated the Spaniards, he knew well how formidable they 
were. By acknowledging the supremacy of Charles V.— a sov- 
ereign as far off as the sky— and paying a merely nominal 
tribute, he had the word of Las Casas, which no Indian ever 
doubted, that not a Spaniard, without the express permission 
of the Dominicans, should set foot upon his territory. This ar- 
rangement was made, the peaceful victory was won, and Las 
Casas returned to Guatemala, taking with him the cacique, to 
visit Alvarado, who had just returned from Spain. 

This rough soldier, it will be remembered, was the man who 
by his ill-judged brutality had precipitated the catastrophe of 
the Spaniards in the city of Mexico on the May festival of 
1520. In his hard heart there was, however, a gallant spot. He 
knew a hero when he saw him, and he well knew that, with all 
his military qualities, he could never have done what Las Casas 
had just done. So when the stern conqueror and lord of Gua- 
temala, coming forth to greet Las Casas and the Indian king, 
took off his plumed and jewelled cap, and bent his head in 
reverence, it seems to me one of the beautiful moments in 
history, one of the moments that comfort us with the thought 


of what may yet be done with frail humanity when the spirit 
of Christ shall have come to be better understood. Of course 
Alvarado confirmed the agreement that no lay Spaniard should 
be allowed to enter Tuzulutlan; was he not glad enough thus 
to secure peace on this difficult and dangerous frontier? 

Las Casas now, in 1539, went to Spain and had the agree- 
ment confirmed in a most solemn and peremptory order from 
Charles V. The order was obeyed. The "Land of War" was left 
unmolested and became thenceforth a land of peace. Not only 
did it cease to trouble the Spaniards, but it became a potent 
centre for missionary work and a valuable means of diffusing 
Christian influences among other Indian communities. The 
work was permanent. Las Casas had come, he had seen, and 
he had conquered; and not a drop of human blood had been 

18. Krishnalal Shridharani: 

In Reading 5, we saw how Gandhi came to evolve the princi- 
ple of Satyagraha during his struggles in South Africa. But the 
practical application and development of the principle was the 
work of the Indian independence movement during the twen- 
ties, thirties, and forties, and it is this work that is discussed in 
the present reading. 

In it, Krishnalal Shridharani, an Indian journalist and soci- 
ologist who knew the independence movement at firsthand, 
offers a general description of Satyagrahi activities between the 
First and Second World Wars. 

He stresses the supreme importance of adequate preparation 
and discipline for non-violent struggle, evident from the Indian 
experiences. Because this was found to be so vital to effective- 
ness and because the movement depended so heavily on Gan- 
dhi, it seems worth while to look more closely at Gandhi's ideas 
about the course that non-violent resistance movements ideally 
should take. 

The practice of Satyagraha could result in a new form of 
war— a non-violent, non-retaliatory war. But before this stage 
was reached, Gandhi maintained, all avenues for peaceful reso- 
lution of the conflict had to be explored, for there was no room 
in the spirit of non-violent movements for stubborn pride or 
refusal to confer. One ought to respect one's opponent and 
avoid open breaks if possible. The program, as Gandhi saw 
it, had five stages, and groups carrying on non-violent cam- 
paigns should exhaust all the possibilities of each before pro- 
ceeding to the next. 

"" The first stage called for a utilization of all the regular con- 
stitutional machinery available, including legislative debates, 
arbitration by third parties, and direct negotiations (provided 
that the other side was open to them). If, after a reasonable 
period, this seemed fruitless, the movement was to pass into 
the stage of agitation, taking the cause to the people with 
pamphlets and speeches to develop a heightened awareness of 
what the conflict was about. Gandhi was aware that in totali- 


tarian societies methods of agitation would have to be different 
from those possible under a more liberal government, probably 
performed through a network of communications built up out- 
side the normal channels. 
x \^— If agitation failed to open the opponent's mind, Gandhi rec- 
ommended an ultimatum, a document drawn up by the lead- 
ers with the consent of the movement's representatives, listing 
the people's needs and stating that continued opposition would 
I produce some sort of direct action. It was hoped that this 
\ would shock the opponent into a realization of the possible 
consequences of his position, but if this, too, was unsuccessful, 
the members of the movement would have to begin the prep- 
arations for direct action. This phase Gandhi called self-purifi- 
cation, and its purpose was to develop ahimsa, or the spirit of 
harmlessness, the prerequisite to action untainted with self-in- 
; terest. Satyagrahis were to pray and fast, seeking to discover 
i whether perhaps their own deficiencies were in part responsible 
for the evils they wished to abolish. They were to ask them- 
selves whether they were not too lacking in self-respect to com- 
mand the respect of the opposition, and ponder how they could 
avoid the pitfall of reducing both sides to mere things instead 
of human beings. 

(The last stage of the campaign was some form of direct ac- 
tion: economic boycott, sit-down strikes, non-payment of taxes, 
mass resignation from public office, deliberate and organized 
I disobedience to certain laws, etc. Some combination of these 
measures would, it was hoped, so cripple the society that the 
opponent would be forced to open channels for discussion. 
Gandhi counted heavily on his opponent's lack of preparation 
for non-violent methods and bewilderment about how to meet 
them, coupled with the sympathy such tactics could arouse in 
servants of authority like the police. The ultimate result, if the 
opponent held out until the bitter end, would be a complete 
collapse of all order, and power would pass to the Satyagrahis, 
who could constitute a new government. 

Gandhi insisted that the training of a Satyagrahi should be as 
rigorous as that of any soldier, and it is interesting that the ex- 
perience of the Indian movement shows that a military tradi- 
tion does not, in spite of what is generally believed, build up 
habits that disqualify men for non-violent campaigns. Some of 
the most disciplined Satyagrahis in the Indian movement were 
Pathans, traditionally fierce warriors. Under the leadership of 
Abdul Ghaffar Khan many of them became active in the In- 


dian Congress movement, and sources agree that they were 
among the most ardent in embracing the non-retaliatory ethic. 
Perhaps their very tradition of discipline helped them to accept 
the severe training and self-restraint essential for Satyagraha. 

By the outbreak of the Second World War, Satyagraha cam- 
paigns had already resulted in many concessions from Great 
Britain, but Britain's declaring India at war with Germany 
without even consulting the Indian legislative body showed 
how much yet remained to be done and led to other non-vio- 
lent struggles. Throughout the war a large number of Indian 
leaders were in jail, but although those free to carry on were 
many fewer than in the thirties, the basic techniques were the 
same. The final granting of Indian independence in 1947 was 
due to many factors, among them anti-imperialist sentiment in 
Britain itself and its weakened position after the war, which 
meant that the continued maintenance of its rule in India was 
increasingly an economic burden. But the success of the Satya- 
graha campaigns, although difficult to assess exactly, was un- 
doubtedly one of the major causes. 

Our excerpt is from Krishnalal Shridharani, War Without 
Violence: A Study of Gandhi's Method and Its Accomplish- 
ments (New York: Harcourt, 1939), Chapters IV and V. 1 


Violent overthrow of the government has been the only 
method popular with revolutionists irrespective of their creed, 
nationality or race. Almost to a single instance, all revolutions 
have resulted in carnage. What is even more significant, vio- 
lence has never stopped at the conclusion of a revolution. It 
has had to be employed even during the aftermath, that is, 
when the replacement of the established order by the people's 
government has taken place. Born in a welter of blood, revolu- 
tion also has to be consummated in blood. 

In this carefully plotted and well-established pattern of revo- 
lution, the Gandhi struggle is perhaps the first and only varia- 
tion. . . . 

Instances of the employment of non-violent direct action on 
such a gigantic scale have been naturally few and far between. 

1 For a recent detailed study of Gandhi's techniques, see Joan V. 
Bondurant, Conquest of Violence (Princeton University Press, 


In fact there have been only two well-marked periods in the 
history of the Swaraj movement when Satyagraha has served 
as the instrument of the entire Indian community in its struggle 
against the state. The All-India Non-violent Non-co-operation 
Movement began in 1920, and continued up to the middle of 
1922. Then followed the expected period of demoralization 
and despondency. It was, however, soon over, and various 
groups engaged themselves in spasmodic outbursts of Satya- 
graha. Their activities were restricted to small communities 
and the issues fought over were either local or secondary. It 
was not until 1930 that a call for general "mobilization" was 
sent to the four corners of India. The nation-wide struggle that 
ensued perfected the various techniques and demonstrated the 
workability of Satyagraha as a form of concerted action on a 
national scale. The struggle reached its triumphant apex in the 
form of the Gandhi-Irwin pact of March 5, 1931. 

1. Non-co-operation Movement, 1920—1922 

As our chief concern here is to comprehend Satyagraha in 
practice, our interest in the nationalist movement itself is sec- 
ondary. The pros and cons of issues and claims involved, 
therefore, bother us little if at all. To acquire a proper back- 
ground for understanding the particular forms taken by non- 
violent direct action, however, a brief account of the various 
conflicts which precipitated the crisis on a national scale is 

The beginning of the Indo-British relationship dates back to 
the closing decades of the seventeenth century. Attracted by 
the fabulous wealth of India, which also inspired the epoch- 
making voyage of Columbus, the directors of the East India 
Company decided around 1686 to "establish ... a large, 
well-grounded, sure English domination in India for all time to 
come." Consequently, they obtained trading rights in Bombay, 
Calcutta and Madras from the Indian authorities. They began 
to purchase land, and without provocation or permission from 
the rulers of India, started the fortification of their trading 
posts. The latter were manned by armed British troops and 
by cannons, thus violating the trust of the natives. The subse- 
quent friction led to the rise of Robert Clive who proposed 
stern measures against the resisting natives. In 1757, Clive de- 
feated the Bengal forces at Plassey and appropriated a large 
portion of Indian territory in the interests of the Company. 

Then ensued an era of unscrupulous plunder and exploita- 
tion by the Company men. . . . 

Swelling resentment finally broke down the endurance of 
the long-suffering natives. What was left of the Indian soldiery 


rallied in 1857, and struck at the British forces in India. The 
English retaliated with organized strength and with the aid of 
Christian converts turned out by various missions. The rebel- 
lion of the natives was crushed with "medieval ferocity"; some 
100,000 Indian lives were taken during the struggle as well as 
during the aftermath. The incident came to be known as the 
"Sepoy Mutiny" because it was a revolution which failed. In- 
dia went under the authority of the British Parliament as a 
result, and was completely disarmed. 

The resentment remained. The hearts of the people refused 
to be tamed. As another armed revolt was impossible, the 
energies and the discontent of the populace found an outlet 
in "parliamentary pursuit." This new trend resulted in the for- 
mation of the Indian National Congress in 1885. 

The main activity of these leaders consisted of an annual 
meeting held to pass formal resolutions. Their purely parlia- 
mentary activities received their first contact with militancy in 
1905. That year, the ruling Britons decided to divide the prov- 
ince of Bengal into two parts. The "Partition of Bengal" was 
to be effected with a view to securing the most beautiful and 
fertile land of India for the sole enjoyment of the British im- 
migrants. This aroused the fury of the Bengalis, who, backed 
by the whole of India, called a vigorous boycott on British- 
manufactured goods. The struggle sent many to prison. Some 
were severely beaten, and quite a few disabled for the rest of 
their lives. This was the first time the Indian gentry had ex- 
perienced the rigors of direct action. The agitation of the 
leaders and the vigorous use of economic pressure by the peo- 
ple at large were not in vain. The partition plan was repealed. 

The success of the movement gave the Indian a taste of his 
own potential strength, which resulted in corresponding 
changes in his attitudes and aspirations. These, however, were 
soon to be vastly modified by the extraordinary situation cre- 
ated by the World War in Europe. India was called upon to 
do her duty by the Allies. The tone of the British Parliament 
as well as that of the bureaucracy in India was unrecognizably 
changed. Commands were tempered, and a volley of requests 
and appeals replaced them. Great promises of Dominion Sta- 
tus and war booty were given to India if she discharged her 
duty in the Empire's hour of trial. 

India rose to the occasion. Men and money were rushed 
to the aid of the Allies. Later, when a serious crisis arose in 
the World War, India was again approached for additional 
aid. The prospects for the Allied cause seemed dark indeed, 
and unless more men and money came to their aid, there was 
no hope for victory. At this point, Lord Chelmsford, then 


Viceroy of India, invited various leaders to Delhi to join him 
in emergency deliberations. The purpose of this War Con- 
ference was to devise ways and means by which more Indians 
could be sent to the battlefields and additional Indian money 
poured into the coffers of the Allies. For this, the populace at 
large had to be enthused and aroused to the pitch of frenzy. 
War propaganda could not be accomplished solely by officials 
or pro-British half-Indians. It could only be done with the aid 
of the popular leaders. Consequently, Gandhi, by this time the 
acclaimed leader of the masses, also had to be invited and 
utilized in spite of his Home Rule tendencies. Moreover, Gan- 
dhi was a personal friend of Lord Chelmsford, and the Vice- 
roy had a deep-rooted faith in his sincerity. In those days the 
would-be rebel "prided in being and being called a British 

Gandhi attended the War Conference at the invitation of 
the Viceroy and supported the resolution drafted to help the 
Empire in its hour of danger. He apparently felt his course to 
be a short-cut to Home Rule for India. His position is made 
clear by the following paragraph taken from his letter to the 
Viceroy in connection with the above-mentioned conference. 

"I recognize," Gandhi wrote, "that in the hour of its 
danger we must give, as we have decided to give, un- 
grudging and unequivocal support to the Empire of which 
we aspire in the near future to be partners in the same 
sense as the Dominions overseas. But it is the simple 
truth that our response is due to the expectations that 
our goal will be reached all the more speedily. I do not 
bargain for its fulfillment, but you should know, that dis- 
appointment of hope means disillusion." 

All in all, India contributed $500,000,000 to the Allied war 
machine. War loans to the value of $700,000,000 were pur- 
chased by India in addition. Finished products to the value 
of $1,250,000,000 were sent to the Allies' side from India. The 
sacrifice of India's manhood was still greater. 

The conclusion of the War, however, changed the whole 
picture. India was not only denied any part of the War booty 
but she was even denied admission to the League of Nations. 
The gullible American [Woodrow Wilson] was convinced by 
British statesmen that the demand for membership in the 
League came from a few malcontents and that the populace 
at large was quite satisfied with the existing arrangement. And 
whose business was India, an internal problem of the Empire? 
Crudest cut of all, India was not to receive Dominion Status 
as promised during the War. 


Discontent grew by leaps and bounds. At this point, broken 
soldiers returned from the trenches with accounts of injustices 
and unequal treatment. In spite of unprecedented heroism 
and military acumen, no Indian received a commission— simply 
because he was an Indian. And all of them, they reported, 
were discriminated against by Europeans irrespective of rank 
and station. In India itself, the war boom was over and there 
was a general state of unemployment. Manufacturing tycoons, 
who had doubled and tripled their wealth overnight, forgot 
their abnormal profits of war-time and began to reduce wages 
and personnel. Consequently, the rumbling of discontent 
among the proletariat, audible in pre-war days, grew louder. 
The teeming farming population of upper India, especially in- 
habitants of the Punjab, were resentful of the ravages made 
on their male population by enforced enlistment in the British 
Army. Even the upper middle class, savoring the fast-fading 
taste of power and profit, was resentful of the turn of events. 
The inevitable disillusionment had come at last, and India was 
again a seething volcano. 

As if to add fuel to the fire, the report of the Rowlatt Com- 
mittee was published at this critical moment. This committee 
was appointed by the government to ascertain whether special 
emergency actions were necessary to stamp out the revolution- 
ary spirit of the people. The commission, composed of all 
Englishmen and no Indian, recommended drastic measures to 
deal with the growing unrest. The Rowlatt Committee advised 
the government to curtail the people's right to gather in large 
assemblies. Freedom of speech and assembly as well as free- 
dom of the press were to be greatly reduced and in many 
cases forfeited. Imprisonment without trial, a distinct breach 
of the Habeas Corpus Act, was to be a common practice with 
the police and civil authorities. All India was aghast and 
aroused to the pitch of frenzy. Was that the reward of their 
services during the World War, they asked? 

When this report reached Gandhi, he was still an invalid 
from overwork on behalf of the Allies. He felt himself and 
India betrayed by the Britons. He was mortally wounded. It 
was at his behest, according to his own self-condemnation, 
that India had made such tremendous sacrifices during the 
War. Gandhi realized that he had misled the people in his 
ignorance of British duplicity. Consequently, he felt it his 
duty to the Indian people to keep the Rowlatt Report from be- 
coming a law. First from his sickbed and subsequently from 
innumerable platforms he denounced the bill as a breach of 
the Habeas Corpus Act and urged the people to resist it at 
every step. The government, however, forced it through the 
council and appended it to the laws of the land. 

Driven to desperation, Gandhi called upon the people to 


offer a Satyagraha. A day was appointed for complete Hartal 
as a sign of mourning. Each village and every city in the 
country was to stop all normal activity for twenty-four hours 
and every adult was to observe a fast. Streets were deserted 
and shop windows shrouded. Mass meetings were held in the 
evening to denounce the act. Individuals were asked at these 
meetings to sign a Satyagraha pledge which bound them to 
disobey the act and such other laws as would be recom- 
mended by the nationalist high command. Finally huge proces- 
sions marched through the "main streets" of India shouting 
revolutionary slogans. 

The government struck back at the Satyagrahis in order 
to nip their revolt in the bud. Processions were stopped by 
the military at various places and large crowds were fired on 
at Delhi, Calcutta and Amritsar. Reports reached Gandhi 
that there was serious trouble brewing in the Punjab. At the 
invitation of the Punjab leaders, Gandhi started out for that 
province on a peace mission. He was arrested en route and 
brought back to Bombay. The Amritsar Punjabis, disappointed 
by the news of Gandhi's arrest, called a meeting to voice 
their protest. Two leading local leaders, consequently, were 
arrested and imprisoned. The undaunted populace, neverthe- 
less, held a protest meeting on the 18th of April, 1919. Some 
20,000 unsuspecting men, women and children gathered to- 
gether in the Jallianwalla Bag, a walled-in garden with only 
one exit. All were peaceful and pledged to non-violence, and 
none among them was armed with even so much as a stick. 
Suddenly, General Dyer, a British military officer, arrived on 
the scene with fifty picked soldiers armed with machine guns. 
He posted his troops at the only exit of the walled-in garden 
so that no one could escape. Without a word of warning, he 
gave orders to fire. About 1,650 rounds of ammunition were 
leveled at the peaceful gathering of men, women, and children 
at close range. The holocaust was over in a few minutes. 
When Dyer withdrew, some 1,200 dead and 3,600 wounded 
were lying in the garden. 

When this news broke, India was stunned. The leaders felt 
at loss to find words strong enough to denounce the barbarous 
brutality of the government, and the people were numbed and 
sickened by the tragic picture of carnage. When the first hor- 
ror of the incident was over, sympathetic spokesmen of public 
opinion rallied around Gandhi to devise ways and means of 
"compelling repentance" on the part of the powers that be. 
The first few steps, suggested by Gandhi, included: huge pro- 
cessions singing national songs and shouting slogans; mass 
meetings codifying their protest to the government action; and 
picketing of government buildings by women. The authorities, 
as expected, tried to suppress the growing tension by such coer- 


cive measures as arrests of the Satyagrahis, lathi-charges 
(cracking heads open with bamboo sticks), firing on crowds, 
and wholesale massacres. The next move of the Satyagrahis, 
therefore, was to dramatize their suffering and sacrifices. 
- — Then came Gandhi's call for non-co-operation. The people 
were asked to withdraw their aid and support which made 
the administration possible. Those who had been rewarded by 
the government with titles and honorary offices were to sur- 
render their privileges. Rich people were to refrain from buy- 
ing government loans and the poor were asked to refuse any 
petty service to the local authorities. Lawyers suspended their 
practice and disputes were settled outside the courts. Govern- 
ment schools were deserted as the students decided either to 
go to "national institutions" or to the villages to carry on the 
Swaraj propaganda. Benches in legislative councils were un- 
occupied because the leaders were out among the people in- 
stigating non-violent revolution. A militant boycott of British 
goods was promulgated, coupled with a petition to the public 
to patronize indigenous products. Finally, Indians in govern- 
ment service, from high officials to petty tax-collectors, were 
asked to resign from their posts. Complete paralysis of the 
administration was the objective. This program was further 

L bolstered by the nationalist propaganda at work in the Indian 
Army. Soldiers were persuaded to sever connections with the 
undesirable aliens. 
' Momentarily, everything seemed to be going on smoothly. 
There was panic in government quarters and many of the ad- 
ministrative departments were at a virtual standstill. The cable 
wire between Delhi and Ten Downing Street hummed fran- 
tically day and night. George Lloyd, then Governor of Bom- 
bay, confessed later on: "Gandhi's was the most colossal ex- 
periment in world history; and it came within an inch of 

True to the pattern of Satyagraha, more militant maneuvers 
were to follow. After non-co-operation had partly paralyzed 
the administration, the actual business of destroying the exist- 
ing order was planned. This finesse was to be accomplished by 
non-payment of the government taxes and by civil disobedi- 
ence of repressive laws. Bans on nationalist literature were to 
be disregarded, and the government monopoly of salt manu- 
facture was to be broken by mass action. The Rowlatt Act, 
the immediate cause of all this friction, was to be completely 
\ shattered. 

But this could not be. In spite of Gandhi's constant and 
eloquent appeals to his countrymen to refrain from hatred 
and violence, in spite of his own peerless example, violence 
broke out. The reports reached him that the mob was beyond 
control of his Satyagrahis in several places. Riots had oc- 


curred in Ahmedabad and Viramgam. At Chauri Chaura, es- 
pecially, the crowds, unaccustomed to non-violence, went mad 
and committed atrocities. Gandhi was stunned by this news, 
and in deep agony of spirit, concluded that the time was not 
yet ripe for mass non-violence. Then he decided upon the 
drastic step of calling a halt! This decision produced the ut- 
most consternation within the ranks of his colleagues. Many 
regarded it as a sacrifice of the people's cause on the altar of 
an individual's ideals. However, Gandhi's decision prevailed 
and the Satyagraha was called off. 

After a lapse of time, on March 18, 1922, Gandhi was 
arrested and tried on the charge of instigating the people to 
violence. He pleaded guilty in the following words: "The only 
course open to you, the Judge and the Assessors, is either to 
resign your posts and thus disassociate yourselves from evil 
if you feel that the law you are called upon to administer is 
an evil and that in reality I am innocent, or inflict upon me 
the severest penalty if you believe that the system and the 
law you are assisting to administer are good for the people of 
this country and that my activity is therefore injurious to the 
public weal." 2 The English judge imposed upon Gandhi the 
sentence of six years' rigorous imprisonment. He, however, 
added: "If the course of events should make it possible for 
the government to reduce the period and release you, no one 
will be better pleased than I." 

Thus the first experiment with non-violent direct action 
on a national scale suffered an abortive end. Although it failed 
to obtain its immediate objective, it was immensely successful 
in awakening India to the consciousness of her own potential 
power. Moreover, the experience gathered during this non-co- 
operation movement paved the way for India's next great 
movement of 1930. 

2. Civil Disobedience Movement, 1930-1934 

A lengthy period of reaction followed the apparent failure 
of the non-co-operation movement of 1920-22. On one 
hand the people of India were brooding over the future of the 
Swaraj movement and on the other the British bureaucracy 
was tightening its grip over public affairs. It was, indeed, al- 
most a clenched fist. What is more significant from our point 
of view, the efficacy of Satyagraha was seriously disputed. The 
radical youth groups and the labor parties were not convinced 
of the "compelling power" of non-violent direct action. Lead- 
ers of public opinion and philosophers began to discover, one 

2 Krishnadas, Seven Months with Mahatma Gandhi (Bihar, 
1928), Vol. II, Appendix B, p. 18. 


by one, many loopholes in the ideology of Satyagraha. It 
aroused widespread academic interest and discussion. Books 
were published either defending or denouncing Satyagraha 
and Gandhism in general. Gandhi contended that the failure 
was due to the inadequate "preparedness" on the part of the 
people, but after his release from jail he kept silent and retired 
to his Ashrama. This period of reflection and uncertainty, 
however, brought to the people a greater realization of the 
implications of Satyagraha and of its various potentialities. 

The period of demoralization over, new organizations and 
new trends began to revive the spirits of the people. Inspired 
by the Soviet Five-Year Plan, the urban workers were wait- 
ing for a Messiah from the steppes. The All-India Trade Union 
Congress, founded in 1921, was a powerful group by this 
time. On the farmers' front, the National Congress party was 
making a heroic effort to expand its activities and to seek re- 
cruits by the thousands from among agriculturists. 

The labor movement came to a head in 1929. Strikes oc- 
curred all over India. The Bombay Textile Labor Union was 
the first. A general strike of the jute workers followed in 
Bengal. The Iron Works at Jamshedpur, one of the largest in 
the world, was the next to be threatened by a labor war. The 
Iron Plate Works in the same industrial town, connected with 
the Burma Oil Company, succeeded in suppressing the walk- 
out before it reached large proportions. The labor movement 
was becoming class conscious for the first time in India's short 
industrial history. 

Meanwhile, the struggle on the nationalist front was reach- 
ing its climax. There were local Satyagrahas in the farming 
districts of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The conspicuous suc- 
cess of the Bardoli Satyagraha of 1928, already described in 
the previous chapter, infused new hope in the people and re- 
vived a general confidence in Gandhi's method. The absence 
of any Indian representative on the Simon Commission 3 drew 
the "Liberal" and the "Moderate" elements to the Congress 
fold. Thus the nation was again all energy and enthusiasm. 

About this time, a new element was gaining in importance 
in the Indian political mosaic. The youth of India was de- 
manding a hearing. Their organizations spread like wildfire, 
and by 1928, there was hardly a town of any size in India 
without its unit of politically-minded young men. These so- 
cieties were sincerely radical. Their guiding spirits were na- 
tionalists with overtones of Socialism. They advocated that 

3 Composed of Englishmen only and presided over by Sir John 
Simon, this commission was appointed by the British Parliament to 
recommend constitutional changes in the Government of India. 


either Gandhi launch the nation once more in direct action or 
give up his leadership. 

With the intuition of a born leader, Gandhi felt that the 
time was ripe for direct action against the British government 
of India. The situation called for a strong Congress president 
who could swing the youth leagues and the workers behind 
that body. Gandhi's choice was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. 
One year previously, the Indian National Congress in its an- 
nual meeting at Calcutta had given an ultimatum to the gov- 
ernment to confer Dominion Status in twelve months' time. 
The government failed to comply. Thereupon, in 1930, un- 
der the younger man's inspiration, India declared her inde- 
pendence on the memorable 26th of January. It was again 
a revolution, albeit non-violent; the community was rising 
against the state. 

To fulfill its new goal, viz., Complete Independence, the 
Congress Executive authorized civil disobedience. It also ap- 
pointed Gandhi as the nation's "Dictator." Upon Gandhi's ar- 
rest, it was decided that Pandit Nehru was to occupy the va- 
cated position. A list of Dictators was prepared but kept secret. 
The struggle, however, was not to start until Gandhi pub- 
lished his detailed plan of attack and gave a signal. 

When the plans were ready and the scene set, it was an- 
nounced to the waiting nation that civil disobedience would 
be inaugurated on March 12, 1930. Ten days prior to this 
scheduled date, however, Gandhi, conforming to the pattern 
of Satyagraha, had sent the Ultimatum to the Viceroy and 
requested a prompt answer. The people were advised accord- 
ingly to maintain a state of non-committal "preparedness" 
pending the response of the government to Gandhi's final chal- 
lenge. In this communication were listed the minimum de- 
mands of the Congress to be fulfilled in a maximum period of 

The Viceroy's answer was unsatisfactory. Now it was in- 
cumbent upon the Satyagrahis to acquire by direct action 
what they failed to secure through parliamentary procedure. 
Taking up the challenge, Gandhi started on his famous March 
to the Sea with a handful of his nearest and dearest. Upon 
arrival at Port Dandi, Gandhi and his "first batch" violated 
the Salt Act by preparing salt from the sea water. That was 
the signal the country awaited. The very next day witnessed 
India's transformation into one vast battlefield. The commu- 
nity and the state at last openly faced each other as enemies 
and in the following months, laws were regularly broken by 
the citizenry and punishment was meted out by the state. 

The Satyagrahis attacked on many fronts and employed a 
variety of tactics. In big cities, they organized and led huge 
processions in defiance of police orders and prohibitory no- 


tices served by the warrant officers. In village and town alike, 
public meetings and conferences of local leaders were held in 
spite of the government ban. The usual boycott of British 
goods coupled with intensive picketing by women became 
general. Pickets were posted even at the gates of British banks, 
insurance companies, mints and bullion exchanges. As the 
press was now forbidden by the authorities to print campaign 
notices and news regarding government repression, the Sat- 
yagrahis issued their own bulletins and leaflets. Although these 
were regarded as illegal and revolutionary, they were freely 
distributed among the masses. Even more serious was the work 
of printing and selling proscribed literature. Stuccoed walls 
and sometimes the paved streets served as a bulletin board. 
Foreign correspondents never failed to marvel at the spectacle 
of the sympathetic pedestrians carefully picking their way 
around the elaborate Congress announcements chalked on the 

When the movement gathered momentum, certain more 
drastic stratagems were included in the general program. A 
boycott was called on all state-owned post offices, telegraph 
systems, trams and ship lines. Public saluting of the National 
Flag, instead of the Union Jack, and displaying the National 
Flag on public buildings as well as over civil and criminal 
courts was another maneuver employed by the civil resisters 
in order to provoke further government friction. Non-violent 
volunteers were wont to refuse to make parole rounds to the 
police, and others defied restraint orders served on them by 
the courts. Attempts were made to reoccupy Congress offices 
which had been seized by the police. 

Civil disobedience of unjust laws, however, was the prin- 
cipal feature of the strategy. The Salt Act was taken as the 
symbol of British exploitation of the masses and made a test 
case. The most formidable forces, therefore, were arrayed 
against the government monopoly of salt manufacture. In the 
wake of the violation of the Salt Act followed a redoubtable 
attack on the Forest Laws. And then came a general attack 
on as many obnoxious statutes of the state as were found vul- 
nerable. Picketing of liquor and opium shops ate an alarming 
hole in the government earnings. Finally, the city-dwelling 
businessmen and manufacturers were called upon to withhold 
certain taxes, and village farmers were asked not to pay land 

Meanwhile, the bureaucracy had set free all the repressive 
and coercive powers at its command. First, the ranking lead- 
ers were rounded up and imprisoned. All Congress offices 
were decreed illegal and confiscated. However, new leaders 
sprang from the people, and more offices were opened in out- 
lying areas. Then followed wholesale arrests of groups and 


volunteer corps. When the jails and improvised "detention 
camps" were filled to capacity, baton charges on peaceful 
pickets and processions became the order of the day. Women 
Satyagrahis were insulted and ill-treated. Prisoners were sub- 
ject to inhuman cruelties in the jails. Next on the program of 
suppression was the confiscation of the Satyagrahis' property. 
Finally, firing on unarmed crowds became a common spec- 

The toll of suffering was tremendous. According to na- 
tionalist sources, during the one year of non-violent direct 
action (from March 12, 1930, when Satyagraha was inaugu- 
rated, to March 5, 1931, when the truce was signed), 100,000 
Indians cheerfully forfeited their liberty to enter His Majesty's 
numerous prisons, detention camps and improvised jails. A 
modest estimate shows that no less than 17,000 women also 
underwent various terms of imprisonment. 4 A score of them 
were expectant mothers when they found themselves behind 
prison bars. Consequently, these "war babies" of India were 
born in prison. 

The number of the "lathi charges" mounted somewhere 
in the hundreds, and unarmed crowds were fired on without 
warning. Thousands were wounded and hundreds killed. De- 
spite this "reign of terror," the people of India displayed a 
remarkable degree of restraint and non-violent discipline. 
What is more important, slaughter and mutilation failed to 
repress the movement or intimidate the people. On the contrary, 
it exhausted the government itself. The coercive arms of the 
state were paralyzed by the Satyagrahic tactics of the oppo- 
nents. After a full year of struggle, the government gave in 
and began negotiations with the Congress high command. 
Gandhi and the members of the Working Committee of the 
Congress were released from jail and the former was invited 
to Delhi. 

For the first time in history, on March 5, 1931, the repre- 
sentative of His Majesty signed a truce treaty with Gandhi, 
the erstwhile "rebel." Satyagraha on a national scale had now 
come to a successful ending. The main demands of the people 
were granted in the treaty thereafter known as the "Gandhi- 
Irwin Pact," and the stage was set for further negotiation with 
a view to evolving a free India. Gandhi was invited to London 
for the Round Table Conference. 

Now that Gandhi was in London and the other leaders in- 

4 Figures as quoted in Condition of India, being a report of the 
Delegation sent by the India League in 1932 (London, 1934). The 
government has generally evaded stating exact figures concerning 
its repressive measures. Whenever stated, however, these figures 
fall far short of the nationalist estimates. 


active, with the "non-violent army" disbanded and agitation 
discontinued, now that people were rejoicing in their triumph 
and consequently were off guard— the government broke its 
promises. So when Gandhi landed in Bombay, he found his 
pact with Irwin, now Lord Halifax, violated by the govern- 
ment. He also discovered that the bureaucracy was in a bellig- 
erent mood and did not mean to carry out the terms of the 
treaty. Thereupon, Gandhi was forced to revive Satyagraha. 
The renewed movement, however, died a natural death in 
1934. Meanwhile, the new constitution, a substantial if un- 
satisfactory result of the nationalist struggle, was completed. 
Later it became the law of the land. 

Thus the second nation-wide attempt at securing complete 
independence was, at best, a partial success. The movement, 
however, further prepared the country in the art of govern- 
ment and made the people confident of their strength and 
ability. According to all observers, foreign as well as domestic, 
it was a reborn India at the conclusion of the Civil Disobedi- 
ence Movement. This angle has a great bearing on our special 
interest here, the fact that Satyagraha was proven to be an 
effective instrument of achieving political ends even when em- 
ployed on a nation-wide scale. For the actual Satyagrahic 
engagement of the opponent culminated in the triumph of the 
nationalists as epitomized in the "Gandhi-Irwin Pact." The 
subsequent violation of the truce treaty by the Britons can in 
no way be regarded as a weakness or a failure of Satyagraha 
as such. It might have, at the most, exposed a flagrant lack of 
statesmanship in the nationalist high command. 5 

Triumphant in a conflict between the community and the 
state, and between groups, Satyagraha has given evidence of 
being an effective mode of revolution or civil war. The In- 
dian movement had even greater implications. It was not 
merely a struggle between the community on one hand and 
the state on the other, but it was also a conflict between a 
people and an alien government. To be sure, the British bu- 
reaucrats and the army in India had the might of England 
and her Dominions behind them. It cannot be denied that this 

5 The magnitude of the success of the 1930-1934 Satyagraha, 
however, cannot be grasped without considering the present po- 
litical situation in India. The nationalists have now complete con- 
trol over seven out of the eleven great Provinces of India, with 
partial control over two more Provinces under coalition ministries. 
Even in the remaining two Provinces, the National Congress party 
has single largest groups in the legislatures. Thus the Satyagrahi 
"ex-convicts" are today Premiers and Ministers in India's several 
Provinces. [This note refers to the period immediately before World 
War II.-Ed.] 


power was utilized in the attempt to stamp out the nationalist 
uprising. Thus the Indian struggle had many characteristics of 
a conflict between two nations; it was waged, in a way, on an 
international scale. When viewed in that light, the success of 
the 1930 Satyagraha indicates that non-violent direct action 
might prove to be an effective means of settling a conflict in- 
volving even different states. There has been, moreover, one 
instance in Europe of the use of the non-violent method in a 
conflict between two governments. The struggle took place 
between Norway and Sweden in the early part of the nine- 
teenth century. The Treaty of Kiel, concluded in 1814, stipu- 
lated that Norway should be ceded to the kingdom of Sweden. 
In order to effect this part of the treaty, Bernadotte invaded 
Norway. Surprisingly enough, no resistance was forthcoming. 
So after weeks of military inactivity, Bernadotte indicated that 
he was ready to enter negotiations. Unity of the two countries 
was the result. Even when, after a century of partnership, the 
Norwegians decided by a majority vote to secede from Swe- 
den and become independent, the latter accepted the decision 
without bloodshed. The unsullied record of peaceful accord 
between the two countries is still the envy of other nations. 


The successes of Satyagraha, particularly those with a na- 
tional bearing, have come not merely from the employment 
of a novel and surprising strategy, but they are made possible 
also by the existence in India of a lusty organization to back 
and to conduct the actual operations of non-violent direct ac- 
tion. In fact, no technique of mass mobilization, however 
sound and logically tenable, can ever achieve anything worth 
while without being utilized in an organized manner and with- 
out being checked and controlled by strict discipline. How 
much more should such be the case of Satyagraha which as- 
pires to be an equivalent of war, an institution operative both 
during peaceful periods and when force is matched with force. 
It is essential, therefore, to look into the organizational set-up 
of the Swaraj movement in India. 

I. The Indian National Congress 

The Indian National Congress, whose banners herald Com- 
plete Independence for India's millions, is a country-wide or- 
ganization counting millions in its membership. Aimed directly 
at Puma Swaraj (complete independence), it is founded on 
the theory of non-violence; Satyagraha and Satyagraha alone 
is its creed of action. The Congress cuts across the distinctions 
of color, caste and creed. It is even above class stratification. 
Consequently it gives entree to the purest Brahmin priest and 


lowliest untouchable. Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians, 
Sikhs, Buddhists, Jainas, Parsees and even the aboriginal Bhils 
find a mutual bond in the National Congress. The industrial 
magnates of Bombay and Calcutta sit cheek by jowl with 
dispossessed Indian villagers at each annual session. 

Congress offices were established in as many villages as the 
leaders could manage. The shrewd eyes of Gandhi had no- 
ticed that there are over 700,000 villages in India, and about 
two-thirds of them are in territory directly ruled by the British. 
Seventy-one per cent of the population, roughly 224,000,000 
Indians, live in these little settlements. In order to make Sat- 
yagraha a mass movement, the Congress had to rely heavily 
upon the loyalty of rural India. It would be difficult to esti- 
mate the exact number of villages that have a Congress office 
today, but the wholehearted response which Gandhi's call in 
1930 received from these areas, indicates that one hamlet out 
of three is thoroughly indoctrinated in the credo of Satyagraha 
and has a Congress office of its own. During times of peace, 
this village unit is busy with the "constructive program" of 
the Congress as formulated by Gandhi. Over and above cor- 
ralling new converts to the cause, the village unit seeks to 
control and direct the civic life of the community, thereby re- 
placing the government functionaries. It distributes Satyagra- 
ha's free literature, and has among its personnel men and 
women who can spread Congress propaganda with oratory 
and songs. Village leaders give night courses in village econ- 
omy with emphasis on the fact that an increase in local prod- 
ucts would be a telling blow to British commercial interests. 

g Besides these general activities, the Village Congress Office 

v directs : 

1. the propagation of hand spinning, 

2. a campaign against drugs and intoxicants, 

3. the propagation of Hindustani as the Lingua Franca of 

4. the elimination of untouchability, 

5. welfare activities such as relief and reconstruction, and 

6. Hindu-Mohammedan unity. 

When on a war footing, that is, when a call for civil dis- 
obedience or non-co-operation has been received from the 

6 Sir Samuel Hoare declared in the House of Commons during 
the hectic days of 1930, that only one village out of ten had taken 
to civil disobedience. Even at that, Sir Samuel's "official version" 
concedes the Congress some 50,000 villages, and over five million 
rural Indians. 


Congress high command, the village organization rallies the 
community against paying its land revenue or similar taxes, 
and advises the villagers when they come to the point of break- 
ing laws and boycotting government functionaries. The resig- 
nation of the Mukhi (the governmental representative who 
collects the taxes) has often been effected by village party 
workers, and when the Mukhi resigns, the only tie binding 
the village to the British Raj at Delhi is broken. 

Elected every year, the Congress President stands at the 
apex of this pyramid whose base, as we have seen, is sunk 
deep in rural India. There is also a permanent secretariat of 
the, Congress at Swaraj Bhavan, Allahabad, to maintain the 
continuity of the work. 

During peacetime it is the duty of the President (Ras- 
trapati — Ruler of the Nation) and the Working Committee to 
carry out the dictates of the plenary session, and to set in ac- 
tion the "constructive program" drawn up at the convention. 
They are organizers and disciplinarians, covering the country 
in preparation for the emergencies of Satyagraha. 

On a wartime basis, that is, when the Congress resorts to 
direct action, the President becomes a dictator,"' and names a 
man who must take his place should the acting President be 
imprisoned. Sometimes a list of succession is prepared which 
will replace any loss in high command. Wartime authority is 
vested in men who hold key positions, and in "war councils" 
which replace village units. 

2. The Hindustani Sevadal 

The Congress organization is supplemented by a permanent 
corps of Swayamsevakas, or volunteers. Hindustani Sevadal 
(The Corps of Servants of India) is a modern innovation, but 
it has been an inestimably important factor in the successful 
campaigns of recent years. These volunteers, steeped in non- 
violence, are experts in Satyagrahic strategy and discipline. 
In times of direct action, they are assigned the job of shaping 
and disciplining that horde of raw, adventurous recruits who 
form the bulk of any mass movement. The Sevadal has thus 
supplied what is known in military language as commissioned 

7 Although Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the Congress Presi- 
dent in 1930, it was Gandhi who was made the first dictator. After 
all, Gandhi, the inventor of the new weapon of Satyagraha, was the 
only man at first who understood his invention, and the only one 
who could put it into practical use. The Pandit was the next dic- 


The general discipline of the volunteer officers as well as 
of the rank and file of recruits during a campaign of non- 
violent direct action is governed by the credo of non-violence. 
Gandhi, in order to avoid any misunderstanding on this point, 
and after being empowered to do so by a resolution of the 
Working Committee in February, 1930, postulated a set of 
rules governing the behavior of Satyagrahis, or civil resisters, 
in the Young India of February 27, 1930. Published on the 
eve of the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930, it was Gan- 
dhi's attempt to codify his conception of how the ideal Sat- 
yagrahi should behave. [Here are his commandments in his 
own words]: 

As an Individual 

1. A Satyagrahi, i.e., a civil resister, will harbor no anger. 

2. He will suffer the anger of the opponent. 

3. In doing so he will put up with assaults from the oppo- 
nent, never retaliate; but he will not submit, out of fear 
of punishment or the like, to any order given in anger. 

4. When any person in authority seeks to arrest a civil 
resister, he will voluntarily submit to the arrest, and he 
will not resist the attachment or removal of his own 
property, if any, when it is sought to be confiscated by 
the authorities. 

5. If a civil resister has any property in his possession as 
a trustee, he will refuse to surrender it, even though in 
defending it he might lose his life. He will, however, 
never retaliate. 

6. Non-retaliation excludes swearing and cursing. 

7. Therefore a civil resister will never insult his oppo- 
nent. . . . 

8. A civil resister will not salute the Union Jack, nor will 
he insult it or officials, English or Indian. 

9. In course of the struggle if one insults an official or 
commits an assault upon him, a civil resister will pro- 
tect such official or officials from the insult or attack 
even at the risk of his life. 

As a Prisoner 

10. As a prisoner, a civil resister will behave courteously to- 
ward prison officials, and will observe all such discipline 
of the prison as is not contrary to self-respect. . . . 

11. A civil resister will make no distinction between an or- 
dinary prisoner and himself, will in no way regard him- 
self, as superior to the rest. . . . 

12. A civil resister may not fast for want of conveniences 
whose deprivation does not involve any injury to one's 


As a Unit 

13. A civil resister will joyfully obey all the orders issued by 
the leader of the corps, whether they please him or not. 

14. He will carry out orders in the first instance even though 
they appear to him to be insulting, inimical or foolish, 
and then appeal to higher authority. . . . 

15. No civil resister is to expect maintenance for his de- 
pendents. It would be an accident if any such provision 
is made. A civil resister entrusts his dependents to the 
care of God. Even in ordinary warfare wherein hun- 
dreds of thousands give themselves up to it, they are 
able to make no previous provision. How much more, 
then, should such be the case in Satyagraha? It is the 
universal, experience that in such times hardly anybody 
is left to starve. 

19. Leo Kuper and Albert Luthuli: 



We now turn to the great 1952 passive resistance or "De- 
fiance" campaign in South Africa. Non-violent resistance had 
subsided after Gandhi left South Africa but again in 1946 In- 
dians in South Africa turned to it to protest injustice by the 
South African Government. Until 1952, however, there was 
no united non-violent resistance movement. That is to say, 
while the Indian community under Gandhi and after World 
War II had employed non-violent tactics, there had been no 
effort to unite Indians with other non-whites. The 1952 cam- 
paign for the first time evoked joint endeavors by the Indians, 
"Natives," and "Coloreds" (racially mixed groups). The Afri- 
can National Congress spearheaded the effort for the Native or 
African population. 

In 1952 the white (English and Boer) population of South 
Africa, only about 20 per cent of the total, enjoyed a dominant 
legal, economic, and social position. For many years there had 
been an effort to keep the races apart and South African gov- 
ernments, whatever their political hue, did not differ funda- 
mentally from one another in their attitudes to the problem. 
After 1948, however, with the triumph of the Nationalists 
(largely of Dutch descent), legislation to separate the races 
(apartheid) and to guarantee white supremacy became ever 
more common, and indeed, scarcely a year has passed since 
without some new restriction on Native, Indian, or Colored 
populations. Thus today a whole network of deliberately con- 
trived legislation keeps the majority racial groups in permanent 
subjection to the tiny white minority. 

The pattern of subjection had become quite clear by 1952. 
It consisted basically of three kinds of laws and customs: (1) 
devices for separating the races in ever more rigid ways; (2) 
delegation of wide discretionary powers to the Native Affairs 
Department so that the control of matters affecting the Natives 
reposed more and more in autocratic administration; and (3) 
schemes to make certain that only the whites would have the 
legal right to initiate and control social change. 


Naturally, laws had eliminated the possibility of marriage 
between Europeans and non-Europeans. Statutes had also been 
enacted to provide severe penalties for any "carnal knowl- 
edge" between the races (Alan Paton's novel Cry the Beloved 
Country deals in part with this theme, it will be remembered). 
Long before the advent of the Nationalists, Color Bar Acts 
had limited the kinds of occupations open to Natives in indus- 
try and elsewhere, and segregation statutes tried to separate the 
races in the use of such public utilities as the railways. In 1950, 
the Suppression of Communism Act defined Communism so 
broadly and imposed such restrictions on ordinary civil liber- 
ties that many activities fully acceptable in other countries be- 
came punishable in South Africa. Natives were required to 
possess passes in order to move about the country and failure 
to produce one on demand by a policeman could result in 

As the Nationalists multiplied acts of this kind and made 
punishments more and more severe, Natives, Coloreds, and 
Indians became desperate. They had little or no direct parlia- 
mentary representation, and that which remained from an ear- 
lier day was under attack by the Nationalist Government. Most 
of the best land originally possessed by the Natives had been 
taken away by the whites and now, under the Nationalists, they 
were beginning to be told that many of them must return from 
the cities in which they had been working to their poor native 
"reserves." Had they been armed, there is no doubt that some 
would have turned to violence. As it was, their only recourse 
appeared to be some form of non-violent resistance. 

But it was not only because they had few weapons that they 
resorted to non-violence. Gandhi's teachings had made a deep 
impression on both Indian and Native leaders, and the Chris- 
tian backgrounds of several of the latter were also profoundly 
influential. Zulu Chief Albert Luthuli, one of the leaders of the 
African National Congress and winner of the Nobel Peace 
Prize for 1960, tells us in his recent autobiography 1 that his 
religious beliefs played a large role in his emphasis on non- 
violent action. The whole resistance campaign of 1952, there- 
fore, is an example of deliberate non-violence; an effort was 
made to plan each step in the strategy of resistance, and those 
participating were to be carefully trained in the non-violent 

1 Albert Luthuli, Let My People Go (New York: McGraw-Hill, 


In the first section of this reading, Leo Kuper, a white South 
African, describes the campaign and assesses the progress 
made, which was so great that it thoroughly alarmed the white 
minority. The movement was very well controlled and enlisted 
the enthusiastic co-operation of thousands, and Chief Luthuli 
has written that the challenge of such disciplined non-violence 
was more than the leaders of the whites could meet, since, as 
he says, "it robbed them of the initiative." 2 Details of what 
followed are not clear, for the government, in an obvious at- 
tempt to protect itself, later refused to appoint a commission 
to investigate the facts, but evidence points strongly to the em- 
ployment of agents provocateurs by the whites in the Port 
Elizabeth and Kimberley areas, in an attempt to induce vio- 
lence and thus regain control of the situation. (This is, of 
course, a familiar technique of authoritarian regimes faced 
with non-violent resistance, and was employed in, among other 
places, Czarist Russia.) Chief Luthuli flatly asserts that when 
the violence came it was set in motion by the government it- 
self. 3 

Kuper, as the reader will see, does not claim enormous suc- 
cess for the campaign, pointing out that one result was to 
stiffen the government's attitude and drive the races even far- 
ther apart. Chief Luthuli, however, having in mind long-range 
consequences rather than immediate positive effects, believes 
that it constituted a turning point in the struggle for liberation 
by establishing a precedent for large-scale non-violent protest 
that gathered weight as it went, creating among Africans "a 
new climate" and a spirit of militant defiance. 4 Furthermore, 
it can be said to have given rise to a new and important feeling 
of self-confidence, by demonstrating that the activities of un- 
armed men and women (for women were among the most ac- 
tive) could indeed disturb a powerful ruling class. This grow- 
ing self-confidence was a long step toward the elimination of 
slavery, which must begin in the mind of the slave. 
r— ■"■ Chief Luthuli's book gives many examples of more limited 
non-violent resistance, and that, despite increasingly repressive 
legislation. In 1957 a very successful bus boycott was carried 
out, not as a result of the African National Congress' leader- 
ship, but as the spontaneous act of an aroused population. A 
bus company's decision to increase fares threatened to thrust 

2 Luthuli, op. cit., p. 127. 

3 Ibid., p. 126-28. 

4 Ibid., p. 136. 


its riders down even further below the line of precarious exist- 
ence, and the response, in both Johannesburg and Pretoria, 
was a clear and swift one. In Johannesburg, the riders unani- 
mously decided simply to walk to work, and many of them 
walked twenty miles or more each day rather than meekly sub- 
mit to further exploitation. Although many whites were sure 
they would soon tire, they persisted, even in the face of police 
intimidation. Some of the boycotters who turned to bicycles 
had their tires deflated by the police, and the Native Pass sys- 
tem was also used to harass both walkers and cyclists. Their 
lot aroused the sympathies of many white people, some of 
whom, despite police threats, gave lifts to the protesters, thus 
coming into direct contact, often for the first time, with Natives 
who were not their servants and seeing firsthand the meaning 
of non-violent resistance in terms of individual suffering. The 
upshot was the Chambers of Commerce's decision to subsidize 
the bus company so that fares would not have to rise. 5 

Other examples of the spirit encouraged by the 1952 resist- 
ance were: the great demonstrations carried out by Native 
women against the Pass laws, during which, in 1958, 2000 
women were arrested in Johannesburg alone; the boycott of 
potatoes in 1959, which paralyzed the potato industry depend- 
ent as it was on the forced labor of Pass offenders; and the 
Pass burning campaign of 1960. 

The natives of South Africa are still a long way from libera- 
tion, but one must remember the generation that elapsed in 
India between the first non-violent resistance campaigns and 
the achievement of independence. Moreover, the Africans' be- 
havior indicates that those prerequisites for freedom— self-re- 
spect and willingness to undergo voluntary suffering— are de- 
veloping. Most of the leaders of the African National Congress 
believe that non-violent struggle of some kind is the key to 
ultimate emancipation. Nor are their reasons based solely on 
moral considerations. As Chief Luthuli has put it, "we shall not 
jeopardize the South Africa of tomorrow by precipitating vio- 
lence today." 6 

In the second section of the reading, Chief Luthuli offers an 
apologia for his break with "moderation" in the South Afri- 
can struggle. After his active participation in the campaign of 
1952, the South African Government removed him from the 

5 Ibid., p. 177. 

6 Ibid., pp. 219-20. 


chieftainship of his tribe. His response was the public state- 
ment reprinted here. 

The first selection is excerpted from Leo Kuper's Passive 
Resistance in South Africa (Yale University Press, 1957). The 
author, a sociologist, was born in 1908 in Johannesburg and 
was awarded a Ph.D. by the University of Birmingham. Cur- 
rently he is dean of the faculty of social science at Natal Uni- 
versity in South Africa. 


Notwithstanding the many restraints, it was largely through 
public meetings that the leaders spread the message of the 
passive resistance campaign among the non-white masses. 
These meetings were often the starting-point for acts in de- 
fiance of the law. Since the situation evoked such conflicting 
images and interpretations, an account of a resistance meeting, 
and of the sequence of acts which constitute passive resistance, 
will help to define more concretely the subject matter of our 
discussion. I have selected for the following description a meet- 
ing I attended in Durban. 

This meeting had been called by the Natal branch of the 
African National Congress and the Natal Indian Congress for 
November 9th, 1952, at Nicol (Red) Square, Durban, but 
the City Council had forbidden the use of the land. Not 
knowing this, people arrived to find the square empty, except 
for a few armed policemen on motor-cycles. On a nearby 
corner, as though in warning, was a hoarding with the words 


People moved on to Lakhani Chambers, the headquarters of 
the Natal Indian Congress, realizing that a decision as to the 
venue of the meeting would be taken there. The leaders of 
the resistance movement were already in consultation. The 
decision rested with the President of the Natal Indian Con- 
gress, Dr. G. M. Naicker, and other leaders. Dr. Naicker is 
firmly dedicated to non-violence, in the tradition of Mahatma 
Gandhi, and has served terms of imprisonment in two passive 
resistance campaigns. 

With Dr. Naicker was the secretary of the Natal Indian 
Congress, Mr. J. N. Singh, a handsome man with military car- 
riage, trained at the University of the Witwatersrand, and 
practising as a lawyer in Durban. Mr. Singh had been selected 
to lead a corps of volunteers in the defiance of law that very 
afternoon. Someone asked him cheerfully whether he had 

7 This was the second disturbance in the Cape Eastern Province. 


taken his vitamins and he replied that he had. Dr. Naicker 
explained to me that resisters went into training so as to en- 
sure that they were physically fit to withstand the rigours of a 
term of imprisonment. Resisters were punished by the loss of 
a meal, if they displeased the warders, 'and they are easily 
displeased with us.' A young student who had recently served 
his resistance term added that resisters were set to breaking 
stones or digging rubble, and were penalized by the loss of a 
meal if the task were not completed at the end of the day. He 
spoke with revulsion of the prison diet (which he described 
as mealie-meal in the morning with one teaspoon of sugar, 
one quarter-loaf of bread with a teaspoonful of fat for lunch, 
mealie-rice with boiled beans for supper) and his difficulty in 
following the advice of the long-term prisoners to 'press it 

Meanwhile, a number of resisters both African and Indian, 
who were to participate in the meeting as stewards, speakers 
or volunteers, were active on a variety of missions. As they 
passed each other on the stairs or in the corridors, they ex- 
changed the resistance movement's greeting. This takes the 
form of the call 'Afrika,' the 'a' pronounced as in English 
'bath,' with a resolute emphasis on the first and third syllables. 
At the same time, the right fist is clenched, with thumb held 
erect, and moved up towards the shoulder. Word and gesture 
symbolize the unity of the peoples, and the return of the coun- 
try to them. Some of the men wore armbands, which signi- 
fied that they had served, or were about to serve, terms of 
imprisonment for defiance of the laws. 

The decision in regard to the venue of the meeting was 
difficult to take and long delayed. Too ready a compliance with 
official edicts would make it impossible for the leaders to func- 
tion publicly, and would indeed undermine the spirit of re- 
sistance. On the other hand, the pattern of recent disturbances 
in East London and other parts of the country, resulting in 
considerable loss of life and destruction of property, might 
be repeated in Durban, if the resisters attempted to meet on 
the forbidden Red Square. Inevitably some measure of re- 
sponsibility would attach to the resisters, even though they 
themselves behaved with disciplined non-violence. 

Finally, Dr. Naicker announced that the meeting would be 
held on a privately-owned piece of ground, not subject to the 
City Council's control. 

The crowd was composed of Africans and Indians of all 
ages, men and women, the Indian women in colourful saris, 
the African women in various European-styled clothing. On 
the outskirts stood a 'ricksha boy' in gorgeous beadwork, his 



head adorned with plumes and painted ox-horns. The narrow 
street was lined by a few cars, in one of which sat a number 
of white men from the political section of the South African 
police. A huge flag, with the symbolic colours of the African 
National Congress, black for the people, green for the land, 
and gold for the wealth, marked the platform, a wagon. 

From the beginning, the first act as it were, the organizers 
asserted the peaceful nature of the meeting. One of the vice- 
presidents of the Natal Indian Congress, who had already 
served a term of imprisonment, mounted the platform and 
exhorted the crowd to sit. The meeting could not begin, he 
called, till everyone was seated. To stand would create an im- 
pression of disorderliness which had to be avoided. This was a 
peaceful meeting; the campaign was non-violent. Gradually, 
leisurely, most of the people sat down on the ground. This 
seemed to create a feeling of good-humoured relaxation and 
of solidarity. 

Almost immediately, a deep bass voice from somewhere in 
the crowd began a Zulu chant 'Mayibuy' lAfrika.' The whole 
crowd, Indians as well as Africans, joined in this song of the 
resistance movement, and instead of Amen, shouted 'Afrika!' 
Throughout the meeting 'Afrika' was used in this way— a fer- 
vent affirmation whenever a speaker emphasized the princi- 
ples of the defiance campaign, or attacked discrimination or 
indeed made a good joke. 

mayibuy' iafrika! 

Thina sizwe esinsundu, 
Sikhalel 'iAfrika, 

Eyathathwa amaNgisi; 

Chorus: Mayibuye, mayibuye, 

Eyathathwa ama- 

Chorus: Mayibuye mayibuye, 

Eyagqilazwa ama- 



We black people, 
We cry for Africa, 

Which was taken by the Eng- 

While we were still in dark- 

Let it return, let it return, 
Let Africa return! 

Which was taken by the Eng- 

While we were still in dark- 

Let it return, let it return, 
Let Africa return! 

Which was enslaved by the 

While we were still in dark- 


Then they took up 'S'yayifun'inkululeko' (We want free- 
dom) and 'Vula Malani' (Open, Malan). 


S'yayifun'inkululeko; (twice) We want freedom; (twice) 
S'yayifuna, s'yayifuna! We want it, we want it! 

S'yayifun'inkululeko. We want freedom. 

We! Malani. Listen! Malan. 

S'yayifun'inkululeko; (twice) We want freedom; (twice) 
S'yayifuna, s'yayifuna! We want it, we want it! 

S'yayifun'inkululeko We want freedom. 

We! Verwoerdi. Listen! Verwoerd. 

(Etc., all Cabinet Ministers sung to in turn.) 

vula, malani! open, malan! 

Vula Malan, siyangqongqoza: Open Malan, we are knock- 
(four times) ing: (four times) 

The ready good humour and the rich spontaneous song gave 
an impression of strength and solidarity. The sentiments 
seemed to be rooted in the emotions and music of these peo- 
ple, and not something foreign, peddled by agitators. 

Dr. Naicker came to the wagon and took up the theme of 
non-violence, while Mr. M. B. Yengwa, secretary of the Natal 
branch of the African National Congress, interpreted into Zulu. 
Dr. Naicker began by saying that as he looked at the faces 
round him, he saw on them no violence, yet the meeting had 
been prohibited on the Red Square. 

He spoke of the need for racial co-operation, and of the 
deliberate unreliability of the White press. 'In to-day's paper,' 
he said, 'there is another white lie. I'm not sure whether this 
means the same as when a European talks of white lies. I'm 
not sure what sort of lies those are, saying that India is giving 
two million pounds to our campaign. This is an attempt to 
make this movement appear to be directed from outside, led 
by Nehru, backed by non-South Africans. This is done to di- 
vide us non-Europeans and destroy the unity and friendship 
which we are steadily building. England, America and India 
are sending us money, but only token sums, not to support us 
financially, but to show their sympathy with us. . . . It is said 


that at first the Europeans had all the Bible and the non-Euro- 
peans had all the land, but now the non-Europeans have all the 
Bible, and the Europeans have all the land. Yet we will not 
take it by force; we do not use nor advocate force. 8 

At one stage, a police officer came up to the platform, and 
Dr. Naicker, after a few minutes, announced that there were 
complaints about noise, and asked that the loud-speakers 
should be toned down. Someone in the crowd swore. His neigh- 
bours turned quickly on him. 

Indian and African speakers alternated, and the speaker 
after Dr. Naicker was from the African National Congress. 
He developed a favourite theme with non-white political audi- 
ences, the deceit of the white man. . . . He described the pov- 
erty of the reserves, and the effect that culling the cattle would 
have on an already land-hungry, cattle-hungry people. With 
ironical humour, he commented on the white man's myth that 
the discriminatory laws are for the benefit of the people dis- 
criminated against. 'The laws they say are good for us. The 
pass-laws— they are good for us. When they take away our 
cattle— it is good for us. When they take our houses— good for 
us. They say, no rights till you're civilized. It's like saying you 
can't go into the water until you can swim perfectly.' . . . 

Mr. J. N. Singh was then announced as 'leader of to-day's 
batch,' and he stepped forward to the microphone. 'We are 
civilized men,' he declared, 'not barbarians, and we must not 
rest until the Europeans respect us and our women.' Standing 
quite still a little behind him were his wife and her sister and 
Mrs. Naicker, a matron draped in deep red. 'We will not let 
ourselves be terrorized, nor will we accept moral degradation. 
In Port Elizabeth and Kimberley, East London and Johannes- 
burg, the police have shot and killed our people like animals. 
I ask you to stand and think for a short time of those who have 
died and to sing softly in prayer.' 

The crowd sang and, when the song ended, Mr. Singh dis- 
cussed the rights of non-whites to live like human beings. This, 
and not lawlessness, he said, was the aim of the campaign of 
defiance against unjust laws. 

Dr. Naicker stood up and spoke with clear emphasis: T 
want you all to listen very carefully. Mr. Singh and his batch 
are now going to walk to the Berea Road station to be ar- 
rested. None of you must follow him. Demonstrations are no 
longer allowed under the Riotous Assemblies Act. Stay here 
peacefully till the meeting is over.' As Mr. Singh and his com- 
pany moved away, accompanied by an observer from the 

8 Notes were taken in longhand throughout the meeting and, 
though the quotations are not verbatim, they are very close to what 
was said. 


meeting, the crowd watched without stirring from the ground. 
A police car drove slowly off. 

A youth-leader of the African National Congress stepped 
jauntily up to the microphone. His words, aggressively self- 
assured and demagogic, were very different in tone from those 
of previous speakers. 'We must not look to the past,' he cried, 
'but forward. Afrika!' . . . 

A loud noise, like a shot, suddenly rang out, once and again. 
The crowd tensed, heads turned. A police car moved slowly 
round. Eyes showed the unspoken fears. I understood then how 
easily a crowd can stampede to action and self-destruction. 

But the speaker was unperturbed. After commenting on 
events in Kenya and other parts of Africa, he ended on a note 
of triumph: To you who are young and whose blood is hot, 
we say catch the bull by its horns. Afrika!' 

At this stage, Dr. Naicker announced the arrest of the re- 
sisters. 'I rejoice to tell you that our people have been safely 
arrested. Afrika!' The crowd relaxed. Then Dr. Naicker com- 
mented on the position of the governing Nationalist Party and 
of the opposition United Party, the similarity of outlook on 
the non-European question, and the United Party's pandering 
to race-prejudice to catch votes; and he predicted that the 
United Party had already lost the next election, because it had 
no policy. 'If the Nationalist Party told the United Party to go 
to the toilet, it would go. [Laughter.] Afrika!' 

The crowd sang 'Let Africa Return,' and all the time men 
and women moved forward and made their contributions. 
Then they sang the African anthem, Nkosi Sikelel'iAfrika. 


Nkosi Sikelel'iAfrika! Lord bless Africa! 

Maluphakanyis'udumo lwayo! Exalted be its fame! 

Yizwa imithandawo yethu! Hear our prayers! 

Nkosi Sikelela! Lord grant thy blessing! 

Woza, moya, Come, spirit, 

woza, woza, come, come. 

The arrest of Mr. Singh was the second act in the develop- 
ment of the drama of passive resistance, and, since it took place 
off-stage, I am giving an account of a subsequent arrest at the 
Berea Road railway station, a favoured area in Durban for the 
defiance of apartheid laws. 


In Durban, the resisters had a 'Gentleman's agreement' to 
notify the railway police in advance of the intention to com- 
mit a breach of railway apartheid regulations, so that the ar- 
rest would be effected with a minimum of disorganization. On 
the following Sunday, Mr. Ismail Meer, one of the vice-presi- 
dents of the Natal Indian Congress, led a batch of resisters 
from the meeting-place to the Berea Road station, only to find 
the entrance barred by the police. In a truck near by were 
more police fully armed and there were also police in the cars 
which had followed the resisters from the meeting-place. Since 
it was impossible to enter the European waiting-room peace- 
fully, Mr. Meer returned with his fellow resisters to the meet- 
ing, and reported what had happened. He described the inci- 
dent as a breach of faith, and as a victory over apartheid. The 
non-Europeans were now so politically conscious that the 
South African Government was obliged to use the police in 
order to prevent non-Europeans entering the European sec- 

Far from being complacent in their 'victory,' and relieved 
that it had been gained without suffering, the resisters felt 
frustrated by the miscarriage of their plans, and resolved to 
repeat their act of defiance, without first notifying the police. 
On the next day or the day after, they drove up to the Berea 
Road station in two cars. No policemen barred the entrance, 
and Mr. Meer led fourteen resisters without hindrance into the 
waiting-room marked 'Europeans Only, Alleen vir Blankes.' 
There were seven Indian men, apart from Mr. Meer, and 
seven Africans— four men and three women. . . . 

At first, the resisters were restrained, sitting very still and 
occasionally speaking quietly. Then, as the minutes passed and 
nothing happened, there were obvious signs of tension. Some 
wiped perspiration from their brows; they began to smoke; 
they responded quickly to unexpected noises outside the wait- 
ing-room, clearly bracing themselves for arrest. Then after a 
time they seemed to relax a little, and moved around talking to 
each other, or they read, trying to appear unconcerned. At one 
stage an African, with a beautifully dressed baby in his arms, 
seeing non-Europeans in the waiting-room, almost came and 
sat down, but someone called out to him and he quickly re- 
moved himself. 

At last, after the resisters had waited almost an hour, three 
white policemen, armed with revolvers, suddenly marched into 
the waiting-room. They asked for the leader and Mr. Meer 
stood up and spoke quietly to them. The police then placed 
all the resisters under arrest for trespassing in the European 
waiting-room. . . . 


From then on, the resisters were under the control of the 
police, and the next acts followed the ordinary process of law. 
The resisters did not ask to be released on bail, but spent the 
night in the cells. The following morning they were brought up 
for trial before a magistrate. The court was packed with a 
mixed group of supporters. There were also two Europeans, 
but the usual apartheid in seating arrangements was not ob- 
served. The Clerk of the Court read the charge, and the re- 
sisters all admitted guilt. Mr. Meer was asked whether he had 
anything to say, and, following precedent, he explained the 
reasons for the defiance of apartheid regulations. Then the 
magistrate sentenced Mr. Meer to seven days' imprisonment 
and the other accused to fourteen days' imprisonment, with 
the option of a fine, which they all declined. 9 The resisters 
were removed from court, and the crowd slowly dispersed, 
having been prohibited from demonstrating support. 

The separate acts, which together constituted passive resist- 
ance, were familiar to South African society. The non-Euro- 
pean political meeting, with its analysis of white domination, its 
aspirations for 'liberation', was not new. So too, prosecutions 
for minor statutory offences are a familiar aspect of the struc- 
ture of South African race relations: every week, the South 
African courts dispose of thousands of non-European statutory 
offenders. Even the arrangements for the imprisonment of 
short-term offenders sufficed also for the passive resisters. 

The motives of the resisters were, however, profoundly dif- 
ferent from those of the ordinary statutory offender. They felt 
themselves to be dedicated. They deliberately defied the laws, 
and the breach of statutory regulations became charged with 
new meaning. They voluntarily sought imprisonment, and im- 
prisonment became a mark of achievement. It was to this 
spirit of resistance that the whites responded with active emo- 
tions of hate or sympathy and not with their normal indiffer- 
ence to non-European statutory offenders. For the whites, too, 
the breach of statutory regulations became charged with new 

During the three years between the coming to power of 
the Nationalist Party and the passive resistance campaign in 

9 This was an unusual sentence. The more usual sentence in 
Durban for this offence was either twenty-one days' or one month's 
imprisonment, and it was not the practice to show more leniency to 
the leaders. Mr. Meer later spoke of his sentence with obvious em- 
barrassment. Ready to sacrifice himself, subjected to the strains 
of uncertain police and Government retaliation, the leniency of his 
sentence came as an anti-climax, almost as a humiliation. 


1952, the political organizations of the non-whites experi- 
mented with the boycott and large-scale demonstrations. The 
1949 Conference of the African National Congress accepted 
generally the policy of uncompromising non-collaboration 
with the Government and agreed specifically to boycott Ad- 
visory Boards, the Natives' Representative Council, and indi- 
rect parliamentary representation. Dr. A. B. Xuma, the Presi- 
dent-General of the African National Congress, opposed this 
policy on the grounds that there were sufficient collaborators 
to ensure the perfect working of these institutions, and there- 
fore urged that Congress should use the available machinery 
for its own purposes. He was overruled, and replaced, as Presi- 
dent-General, by Dr. James S. Moroka, who firmly pledged 
himself to the boycott. 

Three major demonstrations were held in 1950. The first, a 
Freedom of Speech Convention, was opened by Dr. Moroka 
in Johannesburg. This was followed by May Day or Freedom 
Day demonstrations against discrimination, in which the Com- 
munist Party played an active, sponsoring role. Africans, In- 
dians and Coloureds took part, and many children stayed away 
from school. Disturbances broke out in the late afternoon and 
evening, and the demonstrators suffered heavy casualties. The 
third demonstration, called by Dr. Moroka, was a National 
Day of Protest against the Group Areas Bill and the Suppres- 
sion of Communism Bill, and a day of mourning for Africans 
who had lost their lives in the struggle for liberation. 

In the following year, 1951, the proposed removal of col- 
oured voters from the common roll by the Separate Repre- 
sentation of Voters Bill spread the struggle further. Coloureds 
formed the Franchise Action Council to oppose the Bill, and on 
May 7th staged an effective strike in Port Elizabeth and the 
Cape Peninsula, with some support from Africans and Indi- 
ans; again, many children stayed away from school. 

The broadening of the struggle, and mounting apartheid leg- 
islation, provided a favourable setting for concerted action. A 
conference of the national executives of the African National 
Congress and the South African Indian Congress, with repre- 
sentatives of the Franchise Action Council, met in July 1951, 
and appointed a Joint Planning Council. It was given the task 
of co-ordinating the efforts of the national organizations of the 
African, Indian and Coloured peoples in a mass campaign for 
the repeal of the Pass Laws, the Group Areas Act, the Sepa- 
rate Representation of Voters Act, and the Bantu Authorities 
Act, and for the withdrawal of the 'so-called' rural rehabilita- 


tion scheme, including the policy of stock-limitation. The plan 
submitted by this Council, as amended by the African National 
Congress, forms the basis of the passive resistance campaign. 

Blue-print for Resistance 

The Joint Planning Council, reporting in November 1951, 
recommended that the African National Congress, supported 
by the South African Indian Congress and other democratic 
organizations, should call upon the Government to take steps 
for the repeal of the offending laws and policies. Failing re- 
peal, the two Congresses should embark 'upon mass action for 
a redress of the just and legitimate grievances of the majority 
of the South African people.' 

Two alternative dates, April 6th and June 26th, 1952, were 
suggested for the commencement of the struggle. April 6th 
was chosen because it was the day set aside by the white pop- 
ulation for the tercentenary celebrations of Van Riebeeck's 
landing at the Cape. From the point of view of the Joint Plan- 
ning Council, it marked 

'one of the greatest turning points in South African his- 
tory by the advent of European settlers in the country, fol- 
lowed by colonial and imperialist exploitation which has 
degraded, humiliated and kept in bondage the vast masses 
of the non-white people' 

The Council recommended that the struggle should take the 
form of defiance of unjust laws, that is, the deliberate breach 
'of certain selected laws and regulations which are undemo- 
cratic, unjust, racially discriminatory and repugnant to the nat- 
ural rights of man.' Three stages of defiance were suggested: 
first, selected and trained persons to go into action in the big 
centres, such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, 
Port Elizabeth and Durban; second, an increase in the num- 
ber of volunteer corps and centres of operation; and, third, 
mass action on a country-wide scale, embracing both urban 
and rural areas. 

Two factors, the degree of obnoxiousness of the law and 
the possibility of defying it, determined the selection of specific 
acts of resistance. Africans are not vitally affected by the 
Group Areas Act; their obvious targets are the many deeply 
resented restrictions on freedom of movement imposed by the 
Pass Laws, which lend themselves easily to defiance. The very 
existence of Indians is threatened by the Group Areas Act, 
which can only be defied when steps are taken to impose racial 
separation; Indians are not restricted by the Pass Laws, though 


they are denied free movement across provincial borders. The 
Coloureds are not so adversely affected by the plans for racial 
segregation as the Indians, and enjoy a freedom of movement 
denied the Africans. All three groups suffer more or less 
equally under discrimination in public services and amenities. 

These considerations explain the recommendations of the 
Joint Planning Council in regard to acts of resistance. Defiance 
of the Pass Laws was suggested for the African National Con- 
gress. For the South African Indian Congress, the planners 
recommended action against provincial barriers, apartheid 
laws such as train, post-office and railway station segregation, 
and the Group Areas Act, if and when possible, while general 
apartheid segregation and the Group Areas Act, if and when 
possible, were held out as targets for the Franchise Action 

Similarly, differences in the type of discrimination against 
the various sections of the non-white peoples influenced the 
organization of volunteers. The plan called for a number of 
volunteer corps, each in charge of a leader, responsible for the 
maintenance of order and discipline and for leading the corps 
into action when called upon to do so. The membership of 
each volunteer corps was restricted to the members of a par- 
ticular racial group (to the members of the African National 
Congress, or of the South African Indian Congress, or of the 
Franchise Action Council or other organization of Coloureds). 
Only in cases where the law or regulation applied 'commonly 
to all groups' would racially mixed units be allowed. 

The effective organization of the campaign posed the prob- 
lem of finding a focus of resistance which would involve the 
rural African population in struggles initiated by the politically 
more sophisticated urban dwellers. This was all the more ur- 
gent, since the ready reserve of labour in the rural areas and 
the migrant-labour system place the urban passive resisters at 
the mercy of their white employers. Mahatma Gandhi found 
a focus of mass resistance in the apparently trivial issue of the 
Indian salt tax. Pandit Nehru certainly did not anticipate the 
success of the struggle against the salt tax, unrelated as it was 
to the movement for national independence. 10 The task of the 
Joint Planning Council was to select targets of resistance which 
would serve as a South African counterpart to the salt tax, and 
carry resistance to the masses. 

10 Nehru on Gandhi (New York: Day, 1948), p. 54. 'Salt sud- 
denly became a mysterious word, a word of power. The salt tax 
was to be attacked, the salt laws were to be broken. We were quite 
bewildered and could not quite fit in a national struggle with com- 
mon salt. . . . What was the point of making a list of some politi- 
cal and social reforms— good in themselves no doubt— when we 
Were talking in terms of independence?' 


The planners sought these targets in the Government policy 
of stock-limitation, and in the Population Registration Act. 
They recommended that during the struggle against the Pass 
Laws the rural Africans should be asked not to co-operate 
with the authorities in culling cattle or limiting livestock; and 
they suggested, as a possible means for carrying the struggle 
from the second to the mass phase, the organized resistance of 
all sections against registration under the Population Registra- 
tion Act. Stock-limitation must have seemed a most appropri- 
ate focus for resistance, since cattle are a source of prestige 
among rural Africans, a symbol of wealth, and intimately con- 
nected with the rights and obligations of families. Yet the salt 
tax fired the imagination of rural Indians, while stock-limita- 
tion has indeed given rise to bitterness, but only to sporadic 
resistance. The explanation of these different reactions would 
seem to lie partly in the spiritual inspiration of Mahatma Gan- 
dhi, and partly in the fact that the South African Government 
has not prosecuted its stock-limitation policy with vigour. Sim- 
ilarly, the Population Registration Act must have seemed a 
likely target; it imposes a general duty to register, and lends it- 
self readily to passive resistance on a mass scale. Again, hopes 
of a mass response have not been realized. Registration pro- 
ceeds with no sign of resistance. 

The choice of passive resistance as a form of struggle ap- 
pears to have been governed by considerations of expediency 
rather than by the ethic of Satyagraha. 

The members of the Joint Planning Council would be well 
aware of the danger that their liberation movement might be 
blunted if the struggle were directed against specific incidents 
of discrimination, instead of against the principle of discrimina- 
tion as such. Hence, they related the campaign to the broad 
principles of democracy on the following terms: 

All people irrespective of the national groups they may 
belong to, and irrespective of the colour of their skin, are 
entitled to live a full and free life on the basis of the full- 
est equality. Full democratic rights with a direct say in 
the affairs of the Government are the inalienable rights 
of every man— a right which in South Africa must be 
realized now if the country is to be saved from social 
chaos and tyranny and from the evils arising out of the 
existing denial of franchise to vast masses of the popula- 
tion on grounds of race and colour. . . . 

At the same time, the planners drew a distinction between 
these final objectives of the struggle for freedom and the im- 
mediate objectives of the resistance movement, which they de- 


clared to be the repeal of the unjust laws mentioned in their 
terms of reference. They conceived the campaign as a first step 
in the progressive extension of democratic rights to the non- 

An Exchange of Letters 

The African National Congress, at its annual meeting in 
December 1951, adopted the report of the Joint Planning 
Council and selected April 6th, 1952, for the beginning of the 
struggle. The South African Indian Congress resolved to sup- 
port the African National Congress; and the third partner, the 
Franchise Action Council, pledged its support of the demon- 
strations scheduled for April 6th. 

In accordance with the blue-print for passive resistance, pre- 
pared by the Joint Planning Council, the African National Con- 
gress sent a letter (undated) to the Prime Minister, Dr. D. F. 
Malan. It was signed by Dr. J. S. Moroka and Mr. W. M. 
Sisulu, the President-General and Secretary-General, and took 
the form of a legal demand: '. . . Conference unanimously re- 
solved to call upon your Government, as we hereby do, to re- 
peal the aforementioned Acts, 11 by not later than the 
29th day of February 1952, failing which the African Na- 
tional Congress will hold protest demonstrations and meetings 
on the 6th day of April 1952, as a prelude to the implementa- 
tion of the plan for the defiance of unjust laws.' 

The preamble to the demand drew attention to the found- 
ing of the African National Congress in 1912, 

'to protect and advance the interests of the African peo- 
ple in all matters affecting them and to attain their free- 
dom from all discriminatory laws whatsoever. To this end, 
the African National Congress has, since its establish- 
ment, endeavoured by every constitutional method to 
bring to the notice of the Government the legitimate de- 
mands of the African people and has repeatedly pressed, 
in particular, their inherent right to be directly repre- 
sented in Parliament, Provincial and Municipal Councils 
and in all councils of state.' The Government, 'through its 
repressive policy of trusteeship, segregation and apart- 
heid, 12 and through legislation that continues to insult 

11 Pass Laws, Stock Limitation, the Suppression of Communism 
Act of 1950, the Group Areas Act of 1950, the Bantu Authorities 
Act of 1951, and the Separate Representation of Voters Act of 

12 It is an indication of the political outlook of the writers that 
trusteeship, segregation, and apartheid are treated as different labels 
for the same commodity— race domination. 


and degrade the African people by depriving them of fun- 
damental human rights enjoyed in all democratic commu- 
nities, have categorically rejected our offer of co-opera- 
tion.' In consequence, there has been a gradual worsen- 
ing of the social, economic and political position of the 
African people, aggravated by recent legislation. 'The 
African National Congress as the National Organization 
of the African people cannot remain quiet on an issue 
that is a matter of life and death to the people; to do so 
would be a betrayal of the trust and confidence placed 
upon it by the African people.' 


Heralded by a day of prayer in many locations throughout 
the Union, the campaign was launched on June 26th, 1952. 
Disciplined volunteer corps, pledged to the aims of the resist- 
ance movement and under the control of trained leaders, de- 
liberately committed acts of civil disobedience. These acts, in 
general, took one or other of the following forms: 

Entering a location without a permit. 

Being out at night without a curfew pass. 

Sitting on railway seats marked 'Europeans only.' 

Entering the European waiting-room on railway stations. 

Travelling in railway coaches reserved for Europeans. 

Entering the European section of the post office. 

In other words, the only law directly challenged was the Pass 
Law, symbol of domination for the whites, and of subjection 
for the Africans. For the rest, the resisters' acts attacked apart- 
heid regulations, mainly on the railways. 

The movement developed in the main urban centres, as rec- 
ommended by the Joint Planning Council for the first phase 
of the struggle. The Witwatersrand area and Port Elizabeth 
entered the campaign on the opening date, and they were fol- 
lowed by the major South African cities. Two of these, Cape 
Town and Durban, delayed their entry, and there was an un- 
even pattern of participation in the different regions. In the 
provinces of Natal and the Orange Free State, the only active 
centres were Durban and Bloemfontein, each contributing a 
small quota of resisters. The whole of the Cape Western area 
was relatively inactive, and even the Transvaal, the industrial 
core of the Union with an immense urban African proletariat, 
did not participate as fully as might have been expected. In 
contrast, the Eastern Cape, which includes the port cities of 


East London and Port Elizabeth, provided the main body of 
support. This appears from the following figures showing the 
regional distribution of resisters: 

Eastern Cape 5,719 

Western Cape, Mafeking, Kimberley 423 

Transvaal 1,911 

Natal 246 

Free State 258 


(The Secretarial Report to the 21st Conference of the South 
African Indian Congress, July 9th— 1 1th, 1954.) 

The reasons for these differences are not at all clear. The 
level of participation in Natal was exceedingly low, when com- 
pared with the extent of Indian resistance in the 1946 cam- 
paign. . . . 


The months of August, September and October mark the 
peak periods of resistance. In the last five days of June, 146 
volunteered, in July, 1,504, in August, 2,015, in September, 
2,258, in October, 2,354, and in November and December 
only 280. . . . The first stage of the resistance movement was 
completed in October; selected groups of volunteers had defied 
the laws in the main centres, and resistance had, indeed, al- 
ready spread to some of the smaller towns. Thereafter, resist- 
ance, far from developing in the rural areas according to plan, 
declined precipitately. 

Conduct of the Campaign 

While the plan of the Joint Planning Council was shaped by 
tactical considerations, the Satyagraha form of passive resist- 
ance clearly influenced the actual conduct of the campaign. 

The activities were open and public. No attempt was made 
to conceal intentions or to deceive the authorities. On the con- 
trary, the resisters co-operated fully with the police and the 
Government. Thus Mr. Nelson Mandela, a lawyer and one of 
the leaders of the African National Congress, handed the fol- 
lowing letter to the Magistrate at Boksburg on the date of the 
commencement of the campaign: 

Sir,— We have been directed by the Joint Action Com- 
mittee of the African National Congress, Transvaal, and 
the Transvaal Indian Congress, to advise you that in terms 
of the decision of the Congresses the persons in the list 
attached herein will defy the permit regulations and de- 
liberately court imprisonment by entering Boksburg Lo- 


cation today at 2.30 p.m. without obtaining the necessary 
permits. Mr. Nana Sita, President of the Transvaal Indian 
Congress, will lead the batch. 

Yours faithfully, 
N. Thandray, Secretary, Transvaal Indian Congress. 
S. Sello, Secretary, African National Congress 
(Preparatory Examination of W. M. Sisulu and 19 others, 
p. 286.) 

Because of this influence of the Satyagraha type of resist- 
ance, the resisters cheerfully lined up for arrest, and sought 
to sustain arrest, trial and imprisonment with good humour. 
Hence, too, when the police made no arrest, the resisters of- 
fered themselves again and again. Mr. Ismail Meer's batch was 
obliged to repeat its attempt to enter the European section of 
the Berea Road railway station, and Dr. Wilson Conco, Chair- 
man of the African National Congress (Natal), with his group 
of volunteers, paraded the streets for two nights, soliciting ar- 

. . . Under the inspiration of Satyagraha, the resisters gen- 
erally sought to minimize bitterness by their selection of de- 
fiance acts. The Berea Road railway station in Durban and the 
New Brighton railway station in Port Elizabeth are largely used 
by non-whites; entry into the waiting-room reserved for Euro- 
peans at these stations would directly affect few white pas- 
sengers. Walking the streets without a curfew pass and going 
into an African location without a permit are acts purely do- 
mestic to the non-whites themselves; were it not for police ac- 
tion and the newspapers, the ruling group would be completely 
unaware of any change in the pattern of South African life. 

When sentenced, the resisters, with few exceptions, chose 
imprisonment, rejecting the tempting option of a fine. Nor did 
they plead in mitigation. Instead, following precedent in India, 
the resisters used the court as a platform from which they 
might reach out to the conscience of the ruling class. . . . 

It is not difficult to understand the magistrate's impatient re- 
action to protests against the laws which he is obliged to ad- 
minister. Many of these protests took the almost routine form 
of a direct indictment of unjust laws, and gave reasoned ex- 
planations of the motives for deliberate defiance and the volun- 
tary submission to punishment. Others touched deeper chords 
of emotion and of the yearning for freedom. The statement 
read by Mr. S. Mokoena, Bloemfontein Volunteer-in-Chief, to 


the Bloemfontein magistrate is a moving example of the court 
literature of the resistance movement: 

'We have decided voluntarily, and without any form of 
compulsion having been exerted upon us, to defy the laws 
which not only we non-Europeans regard as extremely un- 
just, but also a growing number of Europeans in this 

'It has been suggested by our European administrators, 
Your Worship included, that we should ventilate our 
grievances through the "proper channels" . . . You will 
be the first to agree, Your Worship, that we have ex- 
hausted all attempts to air our genuine sufferings through 
the so-called "proper channels." 

'The history of our struggle for liberation is a sad story 
of unfulfilled or broken promises by our White adminis- 
trators. It is a history characterized by obsequious repre- 
sentations and cap-in-hand deputations. The Natives' 
Representative Council was a "proper channel"— albeit an 
ineffective one— through which we could draw the atten- 
tion of the Government to our sorry lot. The Council is 
now no more. The Location Advisory Boards and the 
Bungas, toy telephones that they actually are, are also 
some of the oft-spoken "proper channels." 

'Theirs is an ineffectual voice. Our so-called European 
Native representatives in Parliament are yet other "proper 
channels." These representatives were the first to admit 
that theirs was a voice in the wilderness as they were bat- 
tling against "a stone wall of colour prejudice" in Parlia- 
ment. . . . 

'It is interesting to speculate, Your Worship, what the 
reaction of the European would be, were he, just by sheer 
miracle, to discover himself an African just overnight and 
thus be subjected to the thousand and one irksome dis- 
criminatory laws that our people have borne for centuries 
with Christian-like fortitude. This I say, because just re- 
cently two South African Members of Parliament pro- 
tested strongly against alleged discrimination, real or im- 
aginary, to which, so they said, they were subjected in 
India; discrimination which by mere comparison with 
what is our daily dose of this satanic doctrine is not 
worthy of the name. And, to come nearer home, Euro- 
peans are up in arms in South Africa against the intro- 
duction of the population registration measure which they 
regard as the extension of the pass system to them. 

The local curfew regulation which is one of our tar- 


gets of defiance is extremely unfair. Hitherto, our move- 
ments in town were limited up to 10 p.m. But recently the 
Minister of Native Affairs, with the approval of the City 
Council, brought down the time to 9 p.m., and this not- 
withstanding the protestations of the "proper channel," 
the local Native Advisory Board, that is. The majority of 
trains leave the station long after 9 p.m., and many an 
African man or woman has been arrested for the "crime" 
of having gone to see somebody off at the station after 
9 p.m. 


'We do not quarrel with Your Worship when you say 
you have no alternative but to punish us for deliberately 
breaking the unjust laws; that is the unenviable duty you 
are bound to carry out. But, with due respect to Your 
Worship, we wish to state that punishment, no matter how 
severe, can be no deterrent to us. We have undertaken 
this campaign fully expecting such punishment. We have 
steeled and braced ourselves up to bear whatever punish- 
ment may come our way. And, happily, we derive en- 
couragement and inspiration from the knowledge that 
practically the whole of the African population in Bloem- 
fontein is four-square behind us, if not actively, then at 
least morally.' (The Bantu World, November 15th, 

But the Courts were not an effective forum for reaching the 
great white public. Only brief depersonalized accounts of the 
proceedings appeared in the newspapers circulating among 
white readers. The protest statements were rarely mentioned; 
laconic news items, 40 arrested for defying apartheid 
laws, 88 more arrests, engulfed the individual strivings and 
aspirations, inevitably perhaps in view of the many resistance 
acts and consequent decline in news value. 

The resisters were therefore thrown back on their own re- 
sources to make known the sacrifices of the resistance move- 
ment, and for the most part reached only sections of the non- 
whites themselves. Mimeographed news-sheets, such as Afrika 
and Flash, filled in the skeleton outlines provided by the na- 
tional Press. More effective were the meetings associated with 
different stages of civil disobedience acts; the dispatch of the 
volunteers (as when Mr. J. N. Singh's batch left the public 
meeting at Durban to defy railway apartheid regulations), the 
trial and the return from gaol. 

The prayer meetings, most marked in the Eastern Cape, the 
symbolism of flags and slogans, the resistance songs and the 


speeches, the vicarious participation in the suffering of the re- 
sisters, served to spread among non-whites the meaning of pas- 
sive resistance, and to heighten its political and spiritual sig- 

The resistance leaders might well feel that the campaign was 
a great success. Six thousand volunteers had defied the laws 
in the first hundred days of the campaign. A firm control by 
the leaders and discipline and good humour among the fol- 
lowers demonstrated the increasing strength of the non-white 
organizations. There were occasional outbursts of bitterness, 
but remarkably few incidents between the resisters and the 

It was precisely at this stage, at the high peak of a successful 
campaign, at a time most inauspicious for the aspirations of 
the non-whites and most convenient for the Government, that 
a series of riots broke out. 

The Riots 

The immediate causes of the riots are by no means clear. 
The Government refused to hold a commission of inquiry; not 
that a Government commission would necessarily add to our 
understanding. Facts vary with the political viewpoint, espe- 
cially in Government commissions. 

The police and official versions of the riots were given prom- 
inence in the national Press. The first disturbance was at Port 
Elizabeth, on the afternoon of October 18th, 1952, when a 
railway constable at New Brighton station attempted to arrest 
two Africans suspected of stealing a drum of paint. According 
to the constable's account, the men resisted arrest and other 
Africans came to their assistance. In the immediate and en- 
suing struggle, the constable shot one of the suspected men 
who attacked him with a long knife, hit another assailant in 
the right breast, fired a shot which glanced off the temple of a 
third assailant, wounded in the arm a woman attempting to set 
the ticket office alight, and thereafter fired other shots at differ- 
ent groups, who were stoning the station. All told, he admitted 
to firing twenty-one shots. (Evidence at the Preparatory Ex- 
amination of William Gova and 126 Others, Magistrate's 
Court, Port Elizabeth, pp. 3-7. At the subsequent trial of some 
of the accused, in the case of Regina v. William Gova and 10 
Others, the Judge commended the constable for his great cour- 
age and devotion to duty in the midst of large numbers of 
hostile Africans and in the face of a serious threat to life and 


Police reinforcements arrived to find a crowd of between 
2,000 and 3,000 Africans throwing stones at the railway sta- 
tion. They fired a few warning shots in the direction of the 
crowd, since verbal warnings would have been useless because 
of the noise. The crowd diminished: some of its members left; 
others took refuge behind buildings, running out to hurl stones 
at the police. The latter, a small force, fired on their attackers, 
action which the Judge held was well within the rights of the 
police. When there was a lull, the police divided into two bands, 
one returning to the police station in case it should be attacked, 
and the other moving on to the railway station. About an hour 
later, in response to a message, the police entered New Brigh- 
ton Location. A big crowd was throwing stones at some build- 
ings and burning an overturned lorry. The police fired a few 
shots at the foremost of the stone-throwers, causing the crowd 
to scatter, and then discovered the first white fatality, a man 
with head battered in, clothing torn and covered with blood. 
There were no further attacks; the police officer went back to 
the police station with most of his men, and re-entered New 
Brighton some two hours later in time to rescue a white 
woman. The cinema was burning, and three white men lay 
dead on the other side of the road. (Preparatory Examination, 
pp. 23-9, and Judgment in Regina v. William Gova and 10 

One company of police fired some fifty shots, the second 
company about forty shots. The African casualties were seven 
dead and twenty-seven injured, according to official accounts. 
. . . The only serious injury to a European policeman was a 
stone injury on the shin. (Preparatory Examination, pp. 28- 
9.) Much damage was done to property. 

The second incident was at the Denver Native Hostel on 
November 3rd, 1952, when the residents, who had resolved 
not to pay an increase in rental from eleven shillings to one 
pound per month, rushed at a tenant who tendered the rental, 
shouting that he should be 'hit' and 'killed.' The municipal po- 
lice took the tenant into the administrative offices, and the 
crowd threw stones through the windows. Police arrived; the 
crowd severely damaged a car belonging to the acting superin- 
tendent of the hostel and stoned police vehicles and the hostel 
building. The police fired some shots outside the building, but 
apparently without injuring the rioters. Later they fired again, 
this time into the hostel, from the protection of a tunnel or 
portico and from behind a double iron gate. The regional mag- 
istrate, in his judgment at the trial of Moathludi and others 
on a charge of public violence, held that the first shootings 
were justified, since there was real danger to life. He was, 
however, not prepared to take the same view of the later shoot- 
ings into the hostel, which caused the casualties. He failed to 


see how anyone who stood behind the gates could have been 
in danger of life or limb from missiles. (This account of the 
events is taken from the magistrate's reasons for judgment in 
Regina v. Moathludi and Others, Case No. M.6/53, in the 
Court of the Regional Magistrate, Southern Transvaal.) 

Three Africans were shot dead and four were wounded. 
One constable received an injury from a missile which struck 
his collar bone. In evidence, a police constable stated that 'our 
instructions are to shoot to hit where stones are being thrown. 
This was done with a view to injure us.' (P. 108 of the Pre- 
paratory Examination.) Other constables, told the Court that 
they were instructed to, and did, shoot to kill; the officer-in- 
charge, on the other hand, contended that his instructions were 
to wound and not to kill. (See the magistrate's reasons for 

On November 8th, 1952, at No. 2 Location, Kimberley, 
three young Africans bought beer at the municipal beer hall, 
and when they had finished drinking, stood up, shouted 
'Afrikaf, threw the beer mugs in the air, and tramped on 
them. When they were ordered out, most of the other beer- 
drinkers followed them. A crowd gathered and started to stone 
the building. Members of the Municipal police, who attempted 
to drive them off, were obliged to take refuge in the hall, where 
they were trapped. (Evidence of a beer-hall employee, and 
summing up of the magistrate at the inquest proceedings on the 
African dead; Natal Daily News, November 26th, 1952, and 
December 3rd, 1952.) A small police contingent arrived, were 
stoned, and opened fire under instructions 'not to shoot women 
and children if this could be avoided and to shoot only those 
actually stoning the bus or police.' The mob scattered, re- 
formed, continued throwing stones, and the police withdrew 
when ammunition ran low. 'Attacks were repelled only by 
shooting. Warnings had no effect.' (Police account, the Natal 
Mercury, November 26th, 1952.) 

The beer hall and administrative block were now on fire. 
The police returned with a force of seventy men, and, under a 
heavy rain of stones, fired only at selected targets. . . . 

The magistrate came to the conclusion that the police on 
all occasions had fired in self-defence. . . . 

In contrast to the official versions, little has been heard of 
the views of the Africans as to the immediate causes of the 
riots. Some laid responsibility on agents provocateurs. (For ex- 
ample, Dr. W. F. Nkomo, as quoted in the Bantu World, No- 
vember 29th, 1952.) In this connection, a comment of the di- 
rector of the South African Institute of Race Relations has 
some relevance. 'In both Port Elizabeth and Kimberley, Eu- 


ropeans stated that strangers had come into the neighbour- 
hood previously to the riots. The implication is that strangers 
to the cities concerned might have been deliberate immediate 
causes— "not our own Natives".' (Report by the Director on 
visits to Port Elizabeth, East London and Kimberley in con- 
nection with the riots, R.R.9/53, January 12th, 1953.) 

Others commented on the fact that anti-social elements, and 
more particularly tsotsis, took advantage of the situation to 
express their destructive proclivities, and that the Government, 
by its suppression of responsible African leaders, was handing 
over the leadership of the Africans to the tsotsis. These tsotsis 
are maladjusted juveniles, frustrated by the general conditions 
of urban African life and the lack of facilities for schooling 
and employment. Some evidence of the extent to which ju- 
veniles were thought to be involved in the East London riots 
is given by the numbers charged before the Courts— forty-eight 
of a total of ninety-one. (W. B. Ngakane, Investigation into 
Case Histories of African Juveniles involved in the East Lon- 
don Riots. Report by the South African Institute of Race Re- 
lations, R.R.41/53, April 21st, 1953.) 

Another source lays responsibility squarely on the police, 
emphasizing the way in which the role of the police had been 
re-defined by the Minister of Justice, and seeking to demon- 
strate that the readiness of the police to shoot precipitated the 
riots. According to this source, the people in East London lo- 
cation were holding a bona-fide prayer meeting. While the 
preacher was reading about the oppression of the Israelites, a 
police officer in charge of two lorry-loads of armed police de- 
cided that he could not permit such subversive theology and 
ordered the crowd to disperse within five minutes. The meet- 
ing immediately broke up. In less than two minutes, while peo- 
ple were walking away, the police officer is said to have or- 
dered a charge, a second charge, then shots were fired, and a 
man was killed. The police thereupon climbed into their lor- 
ries and drove up and down the main streets of the location 
firing at people and into houses. Nobody had attacked the 
police— it would have been suicide to do so. There are re- 
ported to be bullet holes all over the location, many far from 
the scene of the disturbances. 13 

The deeper causes of the riots are to be found in the social 
and economic conditions of the African people and in the 

13 I cannot take the matter any further than the presentation of 
the official version and an unofficial counterversion. Alexander 
Campbell, in The Heart of Africa (New York: Knopf, 1954), 
Chapter IV, gives an account of his own inquiries into the events of 
the East London riots. 


policy and application of white domination. The immediate 
causes will never be known, but it seems reasonably clear that 
in Port Elizabeth and East London the taking of the lives of 
innocent white people, the destruction and the brutality were 
a mob reaction of a type all too familiar throughout the world, 
and a retaliation for the police shooting of their own people; 
that this retaliation was anti-white, directed against the few 
white people in the locations, and the buildings which sym- 
bolized the white man's world; and that the relationship be- 
tween the police and the African people is one of deep antago- 
nism and a threat to the peace of the country. There can be 
no doubt of the violence of the mobs, once aroused, and of 
the need for firm police action. But I find it difficult to under- 
stand how the police themselves escaped with sc few injuries 
if the threat to life was dangerous enough to justify the drastic 
measures they used. 

Suspension of the Campaign 

Though the immediate causes of the riots are obscure, their 
effects were to damp down the spirit of resistance. It is, of 
course, conceivable that the campaign had reached its peak 
prior to the riots, and was, in any event, in process of decline. 

The resistance leaders vigorously denied the charge that 
they were responsible for the riots, and their conduct was en- 
tirely consistent with innocence. Dr. Moroka immediately is- 
sued a statement on behalf of the African National Congress 
and the African people, strongly condemning the violent dis- 
turbances at Port Elizabeth. Both Congresses demanded an 
impartial commission of inquiry. They showed no anxiety 
whatever that the findings might possibly be against them and 
they could not have known that the Government would re- 
fuse to set up the usual routine public investigations, after 
events of such magnitude. 

Nor did the Congresses hesitate to charge the Government 
and police with responsibility for the riots. Dr. J. L. Z. 
Njongwe, President of the African National Congress (Cape), 
emphasized that the seven Africans shot dead at Port Eliza- 
beth were killed before a single European had been harmed, 
and demanded an inquiry so that the facts could be brought 
into the open. (Press Digest, No. 45, October 30th, 1952, p. 
451.) The Natal branches of the Congresses called upon the 
Ministers of Justice and of Lands to stop creating social ten- 
sion by talking about batons, guns and blood. 'No matter 
what Nationalist spokesmen say about the Defiance Campaign, 
the fact remains that our campaign is based on the noble 
ethics of non-violence and peace. We challenge the Govern- 


ment to prove the contrary. . . . The concept of violence and 
bloodshed is being spread by the Nationalists and nobody 
else.' (Advance, November 20th, 1952.) 

In the same issue, Advance reported the contents of a leaflet 
distributed by the National Action Committee of the two Con- 
gresses. The shootings at Kimberley, East London and Denver 
were described as part of the Government's plot to weaken 
the defiance campaign and to ruthlessly oppress the non-Eu- 
ropean people. 

'The Government wants— 

'to create race riots between European and non-Euro- 
pean, Indian and African, and African and Coloured; 
'to use the riots and general disturbances to cause panic 
among the Europeans so as to drive them into the arms 
of the Nationalists; 

'to declare a state of national emergency, to seize abso- 
lute power, to cut off the leaders from the people and 
to impose a fascist dictatorship on the country. 

'Its methods are— 

'to send out agents among the people to provoke inci- 
dents which can be used by the police as a pretext for 
shooting and to incite and preach race hatred; to accuse 
the Indians, blame the Africans and praise the Coloureds; 
'to use the police for the purpose of inciting racial strife 
between the Africans and Indians and for the distribu- 
tion of literature propagating apartheid.' 

Non-Europeans were warned not to be provoked, not to 'lis- 
ten to those who talk against any section of our population- 
anyone who speaks against the Indian, the Coloured, the Chi- 
nese, the African or European is an enemy of the people and 
an agent of the Government.' 

Challenging the Government to hold an inquiry into the re- 
cent disturbances, the National Action Committee of the Afri- 
can National Congress and the South African Indian Con- 
gress stated that authentic reports strongly suggested that the 
disturbances were engineered by provocateurs and that the 
'shooting order' of the Minister of Justice played a major 
part; failure to hold an inquiry indicated that these riots and 
disturbances were deliberately incited and provoked by the 
Government. (Advance, November 20th, 1952.) 

... So little abashed was the African National Congress at 
allegations of complicity in the riots, and so little intimidated 
by threats of drastic action, that on November 10th, 1952, it 


organized in Port Elizabeth a one-day strike against the impo- 
sition of a curfew. The Coloureds did not participate, but as 
far as the Africans were concerned, 'the strike was 96% suc- 
cessful and brought to Port Elizabeth industrialists the realiza- 
tion that the African community had a power of organization 
which they could not afford to ignore, particularly in such a 
vulnerable industrial port as Port Elizabeth.' (Report of the 
South African Institute of Race Relations, R.R.9/53.) 

Yet notwithstanding all these activities after the Port Eliza- 
beth riots, and the determination of the leaders, the resistance 
movement was tailing off into suspension. 

In Cape Town, four white resisters, three of them Univer- 
sity students, marched into the non-European booths of the 
General Post Office, and began writing telegrams to Dr. 
Malan. They were arrested and removed by the police. A 
week later, a white trade union organizer defied the apartheid 
regulations in a Johannesburg post office; presumably his 
telegram to the Minister of Justice, calling for the abolition of 
colour discrimination, has not yet been dispatched. 

Congress leaders welcomed this participation of white re- 
sisters, partly as a demonstration to their own followers that 
all whites are not oppressors, and partly as a means of placing 
the struggle on the clear basis of principle, rather than of race 

Possibly the impending general elections were a factor in 
the final suspension of the movement. While the resistance 
leaders did not distinguish between the election programmes 
of the Government and opposition parties— the non-European 
policies of the two parties were not fundamentally different— 
they nevertheless did not wish to do anything which would 
ensure the return of the Nationalist Party to power. Thus they 
refrained from taking advantage of the Appellate Court deci- 
sion in the case of Regina v. Lusu (March 1953), when they 
might have flooded, with impunity, many of the amenities re- 
served for whites. 

Certainly, the arrest of the leaders must have contributed to 
the decline of the campaign. The new laws were also an im- 
portant factor, as stated by Chief Albert Luthuli, the recently 
elected President-General of the African National Congress. 
'Round about November,' he said, 'there was a Government 
Proclamation which made certain things illegal. Parliament 
later passed the Public Safety and the Criminal Law Amend- 
ment Acts. In the light of that, it was necessary for the organi- 
zation to take stock of the situation. It meant studying our 


programme and the new situation to adapt our plans and to see 
what we could do.' (The Leader, April 24th, 1953.) Clearly 
the riots played a decisive role. . . . 

June 26th, 1953, the first anniversary of the launching of 
the campaign, was observed as a day of commemoration and 
rededication. In a message to Africans and their allies, Chief 
Luthuli appealed for the lighting of bonfires or candles or 
lanterns outside their homes, 'as a symbol of the spark of free- 
dom which we are determined to keep alive in our hearts, and 
as a sign to freedom-lovers that we are keeping the vigil on 
that night.' Older members of each household should tell the 
younger 'the story, so far as they know it, of the struggle of 
the African people in particular, and the non-Europeans in 
general, for their liberation.' (The Leader, June 26th, 1953.) 

The passive resistance campaign was already passing into 
the history of the liberation movement. 

Chief Albert Luthuli: THE ROAD TO FREEDOM IS VIA 

I have been dismissed from the Chieftainship of the Abase- 
Makolweni Tribe in the Groutville Mission Reserve. I presume 
that this has been done by the Governor-General in his capac- 
ity as Supreme Chief of the "Native" people of the Union of 
South Africa save those of the Cape Province. I was demo- 
cratically elected to this position in 1935 by the people of 
Groutville Mission Reserve and was duly approved and ap- 
pointed by the Governor-General. 

Path of Moderation 

Previous to being a chief I was a school teacher for about 
seventeen years. In these past thirty years or so I have striven 
with tremendous zeal and patience to work for th^ progress 
and welfare of my people and for their harmonious relations 
with other sections of our multi-racial society in the Union of 
South Africa. In this effort I always pursued what liberal- 
minded people rightly regarded as the path of moderation. 
Over this great length of time I have, year after year, gladly 
spent hours of my time with such organisations as the Church 
and its various agencies such as the Christian Council of South 
Africa, the Joint Council of Europeans and Africans and the 
now defunct Native Representative Council. 

What have been the fruits of my many years of modera- 
tion? Has there been any reciprocal tolerance or moderation 
from the Government, be it Nationalist or United Party? No! 
On the contrary, the past thirty years have seen the greatest 


number of Laws restricting our rights and progress until to- 
day we have reached a stage where we have almost no rights 
at all: no adequate land for our occupation, our only asset, 
cattle, dwindling, no security of homes, no decent and re- 
munerative employment, more restrictions to freedom of 
movement through passes, curfew regulations, influx control 
measures; in short we have witnessed in these years an intensi- 
fication of our subjection to ensure and protect white su- 

A New Spirit 

It is with this background and with a full sense of responsi- 
bility that, under the auspices of the African National Con- 
gress (Natal), I have joined my people in the new spirit that 
moves them to-day, the spirit that revolts openly and boldly 
against injustice and expresses itself in a determined and non- 
violent manner. Because of my association with the African 
National Congress in this new spirit which has found an effec- 
tive and legitimate way of expression in the non-violent Passive 
Resistance Campaign, I was given a two-week limit ultimatum 
by the Secretary for Native Affairs calling upon me to choose 
between the African National Congress and the chieftainship 
of the Groutville Mission Reserve. He alleged that my associa- 
tion with Congress in its non-violent Passive Resistance Cam- 
paign was an act of disloyalty to the State. I did not, and do 
not, agree with this view. Viewing non-Violent Passive Re- 
sistance as a non-revolutionary and, therefore, a most legiti- 
mate and humane political pressure technique for a people 
denied all effective forms of constitutional striving, I saw no 
real conflict in my dual leadership of my people: leader of this 
tribe as chief and political leader in Congress. 

Servant of People 
I saw no cause to resign from either. . . . 

I do not wish to challenge my dismissal, but I would like to 
suggest that in the interest of the institution of chieftainship in 
these modern times of democracy, the Government should de- 
fine more precisely and make more widely known the status, 
functions and privileges of chiefs. 

My view has been, and still is, that a chief is primarily a 
servant of his people. . . . 

Laws and conditions that tend to debase human personality 
—a God-given force— be they brought about by the State or 
other individuals, must be relentlessly opposed in the spirit of 


defiance shown by St. Peter when he said to the rulers of his 
day: "Shall we obey God or man?" No one can deny that in 
so far as non-Whites are concerned in the Union of South 
Africa, laws and conditions that debase human personality 
abound. Any chief worthy of his position must fight fearlessly 
against such debasing conditions and laws. 

Even Death 

As for myself, with a full sense of responsibility and a clear 
conviction, I decided to remain in the struggle for extending 
democratic rights and responsibilities to all sections of the 
South African community. I have embraced the non-Violent 
Passive Resistance technique in fighting for freedom because 
I am convinced it is the only non-revolutionary, legitimate and 
humane way that could be used by people denied, as we are, 
effective constitutional means to further aspirations. 

The wisdom or foolishness of this decision I place in the 
hands of the Almighty. 

My only painful concern at times is that of the welfare of 
my family but I try even in this regard, in a spirit of trust and 
surrender to God's will as I see it, to say: "God will provide." 

It is inevitable that in working for Freedom some indi- 
viduals and some families must take the lead and suffer: The 
Road to Freedom is via the CROSS. 


Afrika! Afrika! Afrika! 

20. C. Eric Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.: 



In 1954 the United States Supreme Court decided that racial 
segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, and other 
decisions have held the same with respect to segregation in in- 
terstate transportation. The court's tendency over a period of 
years has been to hold that racial segregation in public facili- 
ties of all type is contrary to basic law. But while the old doc- 
trine of "separate but equal" has thus been overthrown in 
form, it still remains very much in effect in practice. Local gov- 
ernments continue to enforce ordinances even after they have 
been declared unconstitutional, and local customs and tradi- 
tions—even without the formal sanction of law— sustain separa- 
tion of the races against an increasingly keen moral conscious- 
ness that condemns it. How can one fully implement the law 
and break down traditions and local customs that, in both 
North and South, violate the standards of equity sustained by 
the insights of millions? To many critics it has appeared that 
authorities are often unable or unwilling to do much about this 
issue, and the sense of injustice felt by minority groups con- 
tinues to grow. 

The problem is gradually being answered by a remarkable 
development of the theory and practice of non-violent resist- 
ance. A classic example is the 1955-56 bus boycott in Mont- 
gomery, Alabama, which in many respects resembles the South 
African bus boycott (see pp. 258-59). Thousands of Negroes 
walked often long distances to work, rather than ride on the 
segregated buses. The boycotters, well-disciplined and thor- 
oughly imbued with Gandhi-like principles of non-violence, 
were finally successful in attaining their objectives. 

Meanwhile, organizations like the Congress of Racial Equal- 
ity (C.O.R.E.) and the Fellowship of Reconciliation were 
preparing the ground for other challenges. Long before the 
mid-fifties, many individuals— some of them close students of 
Gandhi— had used Satyagraha-like methods in attempting to 
obtain non-discriminatory service in restaurants and other pub- 


lie services. For the most part, these efforts did not receive 
much public notice, although they were often quite successful. 
During World War II, non-violent resistance techniques used 
by conscientious objectors in prison sometimes prepared the 
way for the breakdown of segregation in penal institutions. 
Even in pre-Civil War America, Negroes had used non-violent 
direct action to secure non-discriminatory treatment on the 
railroads of certain northern states. 

But it was in 1960 and 1961 that the whole problem of non- 
violent resistance in race relations was most highly dramatized. 
The time appeared to be ripe for a nearly universal response 
by the Negro community; federal law was favorable, and there 
was widespread concern about what "image" the United States 
would have abroad were segregation to continue. Moreover, 
the economic position of the Negro, bad as it continued to be, 
was improving. A new sense of self-confidence, too, was 
abroad among members of the younger generation, many of 
them now attending college; and fresh leadership within the 
ranks of Negro ministers— witness the career of the Reverend 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.— initiated an often deep religious 
commitment to non-violence. 

So the great wave of Sit-ins and "Freedom Rides" came 
about. Thousands of Negroes, mostly very young, deliberately 
sat down in restaurants and asked for service on equal terms 
with white patrons. The jails were sometimes too full to hold all 
the "violators of public order" arrested for such innocuous 
acts; and in some areas the overflow was accommodated in 
crude stockades or other improvised quarters. From Northern 
as well as Southern communities came "Freedom Riders" who 
challenged segregation in waiting rooms, in buses, and in other 
facilities. Intellectuals and non-intellectuals alike participated, 
and those who sympathized but could not themselves share in 
the direct activities contributed financial support. 

To the cursory reader of newspapers, all this activity may 
have seemed purely spontaneous; and, indeed, some of it was 
undoubtedly a rather unstructured response to a widely felt 
need. But behind most of it were carefully laid plans built upon 
conscious adaptations of Gandhian theories. Training centers 
for non-violent resistance were attended by would-be Sit-inners 
and "Freedom Riders." Thus in 1962, the Congress of Racial 
Equality distributed a brochure announcing an Interracial Ac- 
tion Institute to be held in Houston, Texas. Cost of the three- 


week course was $150.00; and the brochure described the na- 
ture of the training: 

"Learn nonviolence through using it in action" is the 
theme of the Institute. To do this, Institute members will 
take part in testing eating places and theatres. In cases 
where Negroes are refused service, the usual steps of ne- 
gotiation and then peaceful, direct action will be fol- 

It is the essence of nonviolence that it proceed step-by- 
step. Where discrimination can be ended through nego- 
tiation, more drastic steps are not used. 

Institute participants— Negro and white, student and 
adult, from South and North— will learn by doing. Insti- 
tute members will live interracially. . . . Participants 
will also receive training in community organization, 
group discipline, and the theory and meaning of nonvio- 

The reader will note the strong resemblance of these principles 
to the steps in Gandhian Satyagraha (see pp. 236-37) and 
also their affinity with the ideas animating non-violent resist- 
ance in South Africa. 

Our reading consists of two sections. In the first, C. Eric 
Lincoln, who teaches social philosophy at Clark College, At- 
lanta, illustrates the strategy of a Sit-In in Atlanta. Following 
this we re-print the code of conduct used by non-violent direct 
actionists in Nashville— standards which were widely observed. 

It is highly appropriate that our reading conclude with a se- 
lection from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who summarizes his 
view of the relation between the Negro's struggle for freedom 
and the theory and practice of non-violence. Now co-pastor of 
the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Dr. King was a strong 
intellectual and spiritual force in the Montgomery bus boycott 
of 1955-56; and the Sit-inners and "Freedom Riders" looked 
to him for inspiration and counsel. 

The product of a Protestant theological training, he origi- 
nally had as his major academic interest systematic theology 
and philosophy, but later his central concern became social 
ethics. At the seminary he felt the influence of Walter 
Rauschenbusch's doctrine of the social gospel; at the same 
time he was dubious about the power of love as a solution for 
social problems. "The 'turn the other cheek' philosophy and 
the iove your enemies' philosophy are only valid, I felt, when 
individuals are in conflict with other individuals; when racial 


groups and nations are in conflict a more realistic approach is 
necessary." 1 

His doubt began to disappear when he read the works of 
Gandhi: "As I delved deeper into the philosophy of Gandhi 
my skepticism concerning the power of love gradually dimin- 
ished. . . ." He came to believe that the Gandhian method of 
non-violence could become one of the most potent weapons 
available in the struggle of exploited men for liberty. When he 
went to Montgomery as a pastor, this intellectual conviction 
was greatly strengthened by actual experience in the bus boy- 
cott. Non-violence became not merely a method but, as he put 
it, a "commitment to a way of life." After his visit to India, this 
belief was reinforced, and Dr. King was particularly impressed 
by the absence of bitterness between the British and the Indi- 
ans, a fact he attributed to the methods the Indians had used in 
their struggle. By 1960 he had become convinced that the idea 
of non-violent resistance was applicable in the international 
sphere as well as in the integration conflict. The alternative was 
not, he thought, between violence and non-violence. It was 
"either non-violence or non-existence." 2 

The selection from C. Eric Lincoln appeared in the Re- 
porter, January 5, 1961; the Nashville code in the New York 
Times, March 2, I960; and the article by Dr. King in the New 
York Times Magazine, September 10, 1961. 


If no wool-hat politicians from the rural counties are loiter- 
ing about with their ears cocked for subversive conversation, 
both Negro and white natives are apt to boast that Atlanta is 
"the New York of the South." 

One morning last March, sophisticated Atlanta was rudely 
jarred by the realization that it was like New York in ways it 
had never particularly noticed before: its Negro minority was 
not at all timid about expressing its dissatisfaction and de- 
manding action in no uncertain terms. In fact, there in the 
morning Atlanta Constitution was a full-page advertisement 
entitled "An Appeal for Human Rights," and the list of rights 
the Negroes said they wanted ranged all the way from the 
right of attending the public schools of Georgia on a non- 

1 Martin Luther King, Jr., "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence," Chris- 
tian Century, April 13, 1960, p. 440. 

2 Ibid., p. 44. 


segregated basis to being admitted to hospitals, concerts, and 
restaurants on the same basis as anybody else. The home- 
bound commuters got the same message in a full-page adver- 
tisement in the evening Journal, which, according to its mast- 
head, "Covers Dixie Like the Dew." 

The advertisement, signed by six Negro students represent- 
ing the six Negro colleges in Atlanta, said in part: 

"We, the students of the six affiliated institutions forming 
the Atlanta University Center— Clark, Morehouse, Morris 
Brown and Spelman colleges, Atlanta University and the Inter- 
denominational Theological Center— have joined our hearts, 
minds and bodies in the cause of gaining those rights which 
are inherently ours as members of the human race and as citi- 
zens of the United States . . . 

"We do not intend to wait placidly for those rights which 
are already legally and morally ours. . . . Today's youth wilL 
not sit by submissively, while being denied all rights, privileges, 
and joys of life. . . . 

"We must say in all candor that we plan to use every legal 
and non-violent means at our disposal to secure full citizen- 
ship rights as members of this great Democracy. . . ." 

The reaction in Atlanta, a city known for its more or less 
amicable race relations, was swift and vigorous. In the white 
community there was genuine amazement over the dissatis- 
faction of the Negro students. After all, in Atlanta many Ne- 
groes own expensive homes, run substantial businesses, and 
practice the professions with a high degree of respect in the 
community at large. 

Predictably, white reaction polarized along urban-rural po- 
litical lines. Mayor William B. Hartsfield, whose qualifications 
as a hardheaded Southern liberal are rated high by many of 
the most militant advocates of Negro rights, praised the state- 
ment and said that it "performs the constructive service of 
letting the white community know what others are thinking." 

But a few blocks away in the state capitol, Governor Ernest 
Vandiver denounced the student appeal as a "left-wing state- 
ment . . . calculated to breed dissatisfaction, discontent, dis- 
cord and evil." The Georgia governor had been elected on a 
platform of total segregation by a predominantly rural elec- 
torate voting under Georgia's so-called county-unit system. Un- 
der the county-unit rules, a vote cast by a semi-literate share- 
cropper in rural Echols County (with a population of 2,494) 
has ninety-odd times the value of a vote cast by an Emory 
University professor voting in Atlanta, which has a metro- 
politan population of more than one million. The governor did 
go so far as to admit that the appeal for human rights was 
"skillfully prepared"— so well prepared in fact, that "Obvi- 


ously, it was not written by students." According to Governor 
Vandiver, "It did not sound like it was prepared in any Geor- 
gia school or college." (The italics are mine but the grammar 
is his.) 

The governor could have been more generous in his esti- 
mate of the quality of education in Georgia. As far as Negroes 
are concerned, Atlanta, with six private and church-related 
institutions of higher learning, has long been a unique educa- 
tional center. It is estimated that at least ten per cent of all Ne- 
gro Ph.D.s in America received their undergraduate training 
in Atlanta. And the students of the Atlanta University Center 
were soon to exhibit a remarkable degree of skill at dramatiz- 
ing their determination to have the rights to which they feel 

The sit-in movement in Atlanta was born in a corner drug- 
store opposite the Atlanta University Centex, when a handful 
of students from the several Negro colleges found themselves 
discussing the sit-ins already in progress in North Carolina and 
elsewhere. A mass meeting at Atlanta University early last 
March resulted in the formation of a Committee on Appeal 
for Human Rights, which several days later drew up the state- 
ment enumerating their grievances and calling upon "all peo- 
ple in authority ... all leaders in civic life . . . and all people 
of goodwill to assert themselves and abolish these injustices." 

To test the receptiveness of white Atlantans to the attempted 
desegregation of public and semi-public facilities, the students 
sought to attend a musical at the city auditorium with tickets 
for orchestra seats ordered in advance; and they "sat in" for 
service at a lunch counter at Rich's, the largest department 
store in the Southeast. At the municipal auditorium they were 
permitted to occupy the seats for which they held tickets, but 
the section in which they sat was promptly designated a Negro 
section by the management, and seating continued on a de 
facto segregated basis. At Rich's the students were served on 
March 3 and 4, but thereafter, and without prior notice, they 
were refused. The Appeal for Human Rights followed, but 
neither the newspaper advertisements nor attempts at negotia- 
tion with Rich's and the other major downtown stores pro- 
duced results. 

At Rich's— which stretches almost a full block on either side 
of Forsyth Street— one can buy anything from a packet of pins 
to a passage to Paris. It is generally assumed that from seventy 
to ninety per cent of the Negroes in Atlanta's business and pro- 
fessional class have maintained accounts there. When no satis- 
factory agreement could be reached with the management of 
the store, the students threw picket lines in front of it and 
urged all Negroes to cancel their accounts and practice "selec- 
tive purchasing"— that is, to spend their money somewhere 


else. This was to be the first in a series of skirmishes with the 
giant store, a kind of field maneuver in preparation for an all- 
out campaign in the fall. 

By the time the colleges were closed for summer vacation, 
the student movement had taken on some of the aspects of a 
permanent organization. The Committee on Appeal for Hu- 
man Rights had developed into a kind of general staff, and 
several operating committees with specific functions had been 
set up under its aegis. A Student-Adult Liaison Committee had 
been established to interpret the student movement to the 
Negro community and to enlist its support. On this committee 
were business executives, college presidents, professors, law- 
yers, other Negro leaders, and students. 

The adult members of the liaison committee also served in 
an advisory capacity on request, but they were excluded from 
all student meetings dealing with policy and strategy. As one 
student leader has explained, "We preferred not to embarrass 
or otherwise discompose our adult leaders; they may have 
vested interests or personal obligations which may make it 
difficult for them to share directly in our deliberations, or in 
our strategy and the implementation of policy." Nonetheless, 
the sit-ins got overwhelming support from Negro adults, both 
direct and indirect. For one thing, during the summer a great 
many adults learned to get along without the convenience of 
charge accounts at the downtown stores. One group of busi- 
nessmen underwrote a modest newspaper called the Atlanta 
Inquirer, edited by a college professor and largely staffed by 

After most of the college students had scattered for their 
summer vacations, a switch in tactics directed the summer 
"field maneuvers" at chain grocery stores that have outlets in 
Negro neighborhoods but discriminate against Negroes in their 
employment practices. Except for "selective purchasing," the 
main campaign against the downtown stores was postponed 
until fall. 

The summer "maneuvers" were directed mainly at units of 
Colonial Stores and at some smaller businesses located in areas 
with from ninety-five to one hundred per cent Negro patron- 
age. When the stores refused to negotiate with the students on 
the question of hiring Negroes above the level of menials, 
picket lines were organized and a selective purchasing cam- 
paign was urged upon Negro housewives. The chief target, a 
Colonial store near the heart of the Negro business district on 
the city's Northwest Side, suddenly "closed for remodeling." 
A few days later it reopened with Negroes upgraded in three 
departments. Shortly thereafter a second store in the Colonial 
chain hired a Negro cashier and a Negro butcher. Two smaller 


stores had either already employed Negro salespersons or did 
so immediately after Colonial changed its policies. 

What came to be referred to as the "Fall Campaign" got 
under way immediately after the reopening of the colleges in 
mid-September. This time the main sit-in targets were in the 
heart of the Atlanta shopping district. Because of its size and 
its alleged "leadership" in the maintenance of segregated fa- 
cilities, Rich's became once again the prime objective. En- 
couraged, however, by the fact that in the seven months since 
the sit-ins had begun in Greensboro, North Carolina, 112 
Southern cities had desegregated lunch counters. The students 
added Davison-Paxon, the second largest store in Atlanta, as 
well as drug chains such as Lane-Rexall and Walgreen and the 
dime and variety stores, including Woolworth, Kress, W. T. 
Grant, McCrory, Newberry, and H. L. Green. Accommoda- 
tions were requested at all facilities— lunch counters, rest 
rooms, and in the case of the department stores, restaurants 
and dining rooms. 

The stores refused to negotiate with the students, and be- 
ginning on October 19 a succession of sit-ins harassed the 
downtown merchants and brought out scores of extra police 
and plainclothes detectives. By Friday, October 21, hundreds 
of students had launched attacks in co-ordinated waves. Serv- 
ice to anyone at eating facilities in the stores involved had all 
but ended, and sixty-one students, one white heckler, and Dr. 
Martin Luther King were all in jail. Under a truce called by 
Mayor Hartsfield everyone was out of jail by Sunday morning 
except Dr. King. Negotiations between the merchants and the 
Students-Adult Liaison Committee were promised on the ini- 
tiative of the mayor. When the truce ended thirty days later, 
no progress had been made in settling the impasse, and on 
November 25, the all-out attack was resumed. By mid-De- 
cember, Christmas buying was down sixteen per cent— almost 
$10 million below normal. 

Both the Atlanta police and the merchants have been baffled 
by the students' apparent ability to appear out of nowhere 
armed with picket signs, and by the high degree of co-ordina- 
tion with which simultaneous attacks were mounted against 
several stores at once. Even members of the Ku Klux Klan, 
dressed in full regalia and prepared to counterdemonstrate 
against the students, frequently found themselves wandering 
around the downtown streets bemused— always a jump or two 
behind the sit-in students. The secret of their easy mobility lay 
in the organization the students had perfected in anticipation 
of an extended siege. 

Much of the credit for the development of the organiza- 
tional scheme belongs to Lonnie King, a Morehouse student 
who is the recognized leader of the student movement in 


Atlanta, and his immediate "general staff." Policymaking is 
done by a board of about fifteen students, constituting the 
Committee on Appeal for Human Rights, which interprets and 
tries to make effective the wishes of the students of the six 
colleges who are loosely joined together in what is known as 
the Atlanta Student Movement. The committee is co-chaired 
by Lonnie King and Herschelle Sullivan, a twenty-two-year-old 
senior at Spelman College. Its executive officer has the rather 
whimsical title of "le Commandante." 

Le Commandante is Fred C. Bennette, a pre-theology stu- 
dent at Morris Brown College. The headquarters of the move- 
ment are in the basement of a church near the University 
Center, and Bennette arrives there promptly at seven o'clock 
each morning and goes through a stack of neatly typed reports 
covering the previous day's operations. On the basis of these 
reports, the strategy for the day is planned. 

By eight o'clock the first contingent of volunteers for the 
day's assignment has arrived; there may be anywhere between 
twenty-five and a hundred students present. There is a brief 
devotional period, which usually concludes with a prayer that 
the white people of Georgia and throughout the United States 
will learn to overcome their prejudices, and that the students 
will be restrained, non-violent, and loving in their attempts to 
establish human dignity in Georgia. After the devotions, the 
student volunteers may go to the church kitchen for coffee and 
doughnuts provided by various adult organizations. They are 
then likely to scatter about the church looking for places to 
study until they are summoned for duty. 

Meanwhile, le Commandante and his staff are in confer- 
ence. Robert ("Tex") Felder, Deputy Chief of Operations 
and a second-year student at the Interdenominational Theo- 
logical Center, will have arrived, as will a fellow student, the 
Reverend Otis Moss, who serves as field commander for the 
committee. Morris J. Dillard of Morehouse and James Felder 
of Clark College, who serve as co-chairmen of a subcommit- 
tee on public relations, will be on hand, and le Commandante 
will also expect to hear a report from a Clark College senior, 
Benjamin Brown, who keeps the organization's books and acts 
as its treasurer. Telephoned reports from Senior Intelligence 
Officer Daniel Mitchell, a Clark junior (already at his post 
downtown), will describe the nature of the flow of traffic at 
each potential target. 

The general staff having concluded its deliberations, a num- 
ber of pickets selected on the basis of their class schedules and 
the nature of the day's objectives will be assembled and briefed 
by Deputy Commander Robert Felder. A large map dividing 
the downtown district into five areas is invariably consulted 
and an Area Commander is appointed for each operational 


district. Assignments fall into three categories: pickets (called 
by the students "picketeers"), sit-ins, and a sort of flying squad 
called "sit-and-runs." The objective of the sit-and-runs is sim- 
ply to close lunch counters by putting in an appearance and 
requesting service. When the merchants discontinue service to 
all rather than serve the Negroes, the sit-and-runs move on to 
another target. The group designated "sit-ins" are prepared 
to contest their right to be served and are willing to go to jail 
if need be. Those volunteering for sit-in duty agree not to re- 
quest bail if they are arrested. 

By now it is nine or nine-thirty, and transportation has ar- 
rived. Cars provided without charge by funeral homes or other 
businesses as well as by individual housewives and some stu- 
dents are waiting to be loaded. The Deputy Commander pro- 
vides each driver with a driver's orientation sheet outlining in 
detail the route to be followed by each driver, and the places 
where each of the respective groups of students are to be let 
out. The Area Commanders are given final instructions con- 
cerning the synchronization of the attack, and the cars move 
off, following different routes into the city. 

In one of the last cars to leave headquarters will be the 
Deputy Field Commander, who with a selected squad of 
"stand-bys" will be driven to his "field headquarters" on the 
"Ramparts," a designation referring to the steps of the Post 
Office annex across the street from Rich's department store. 

Meanwhile, Field Commander Otis Moss is checking a com- 
munications code with Ernest Brown, an eighteen-year-old 
Morehouse junior, or one of the five other licensed radio oper- 
ators who man a short-wave radio set up in the church nurs- 
ery. When this has been attended to, Commander Moss climbs 
into an ancient automobile equipped with a short-wave send- 
ing and receiving unit and heads for the downtown shopping 
district. He is accompanied by Robert Allen, eighteen, a More- 
house junior majoring in physics, whose job it will be to man 
the mobile radio unit. 

The students have scarcely been deployed before a delivery 
truck arrives with a crate of apples and a dozen loaves of 
bread. These are from a small storekeeper who wants to con- 
tribute to the cause. Other gifts of food, cigarettes, and soft 
drinks arrive during the course of the morning. A housewife 
brings in a half-dozen pies; an insurance executive calls to say 
that he will underwrite the cost of $115 worth of printing the 
students have contracted for. A small service station will give a 
hundred gallons of gasoline. All such gifts are recorded and 
notes of thanks are written to the donors by members of a 
subcommittee on community support. By eleven o'clock a 
group of churchwomen have arrived to prepare lunch for the 


Reports from the Field and Area Commanders begin to 
trickle in by radio and telephone. As the lunch hour nears, the 
volume of reports will increase to one every two or three min- 
utes. The reports are typed and dated and placed on the desk 
of le Commandante by a corps of young women who serve as 
"Communications Aides." Duplicates are posted on the bulle- 
tin board and the students remaining at headquarters crowd 
around to watch the fortunes of their colleagues downtown. 
Here are two actual reports taken from the files and approved 
for publication by the Security Officer: 

11/26/60 11:05 AM 

From: Captain Lenora Tait 

To: le Commandante 

Lunch counters at Rich's closed. Proceeded to alternative 

objective. Counters at Woolworth's also closed. Back to 

Rich's for picket duty. Ku Klux Klan circling Rich's in 

night gowns and dunce caps. "Looking good!" 

From: Gwendolyn Lee 
To: le Commandante 

Sign has been torn from the back of one of our white 
picketeers. He got another sign and returned to the line. 
Morale of white picketeers very good. Known heckler, 
an old man in a gray suit, is on the scene. White opposi- 
tion increasing. Plainclothes detective made co-ordinator 
keep moving. All picketeers now in front of Rich's. 

The white pickets referred to were from Emory Univer- 
sity, a segregated Methodist college in Atlanta. White students 
from the University of Georgia have also joined the Negro 
students in the picket lines. 

Negro students have sometimes been kicked and beaten, 
and one student, Elroy Emory of Morris Brown College, has 
been repeatedly singled out for attack by a group of black- 
jacketed young white men who come regularly to heckle the 
Negro pickets. The Ku Klux Klan has mounted counterdem- 
onstrations on at least two occasions, and has threatened to 
call a white boycott against any store that desegregates its 
eating facilities. 

The downtown merchants and the Atlanta police have de- 
plored the Klan's meddling, as have the Atlanta newspapers. 
It has been the Negro students who have insisted that the 
Klan's right to demonstrate ought to be protected. When the 
Klan turned out in force on Saturday, December 10— red, 
white, and green satin gowns, hoods and all— to demonstrate 
against the students and the newspapers, the students called a 
mass meeting for six o'clock the next morning "to pray for 


our white brothers of the Ku Klux Klan." Nearly five thou- 
sand students and adults made their way to Herndon Stadium 
before daylight, and stood bareheaded in a cold rain to be led 
in prayer by the Reverend William Holmes Borders for the 
spiritual enlightenment of the Ku Klux Klan. That night a 
bomb wrecked a Negro elementary school a few blocks from 
the scene of the early-morning prayer meeting. 

The sit-ins continue, a somber prelude to the school de- 
segregation problems Atlanta will have to face next Septem- 
ber. Support from adult Negroes is firm and consistent, and 
professional men and women have joined the students in the 
picket lines on "Doctors' Day," "Nurses' Day," and even 
"Professors' Day." 

In some cases the students have been encouraged by white 
clerks and other personnel working in the very stores against 
which the sit-ins are directed. At least one sympathetic white 
woman living in Atlanta's exclusive Buckhead section fired her 
maid when the maid admitted that she had crossed the picket 
line at Rich's to buy a dress. Another white woman who had 
been watching the New Orleans spectacle on television called 
an official at one of the Negro colleges to ask that the Negroes 
continue to pray that the white race be forgiven for its be- 
havior toward Negroes and that the students be encouraged 
to continue their efforts. 

There seems little doubt that the efforts will be continued. 
The Negro students and their white and black allies are de- 
termined to keep on sitting in, sitting and running, and picket- 
ing until their battle is won. 


Acknowledging the teachings of Jesus Christ and Mohan- 
das K. Gandhi, and looking to the Reverend Martin Luther 
King, Jr. for counsel, college students in Nashville, Tennessee 
drew up the code below to govern student conduct in "sit-in" 
protests at lunch counters discriminating against Negroes. 

Don't strike back or curse if abused. 

Don't laugh out. 

Don't hold conversations with floor workers. 

Don't leave your seats until your leader has given you in- 
struction to do so. 

Don't block entrances to the stores and the aisles. 

Show yourself courteous and friendly at all times. 

3 From the New York Times, March 2, 1960. 


Sit straight and always face the counter. 

Report all serious incidents to your leader. 

Refer all information to your leader in a polite manner. 

Remember love and non-violence. 

May God bless each of you. 

Martin Luther King, Jr.: THE TIME FOR FREEDOM 

On a chill morning in the autumn of 1958, an elderly, toil- 
worn Negro woman in Montgomery, Ala., began her slow, 
painful four-mile walk to her job. It was the tenth month of 
the Montgomery bus boycott, which had begun with a life ex- 
pectancy of one week. The old woman's difficult progress led 
a passer-by to inquire sympathetically if her feet were tired. 
Her simple answer became the boycotters' watchword. "Yes, 
friend, my feet is real tired, but my soul is rested." 

Five years passed and once more Montgomery arrested the 
world's attention. Now the symbolic segregationist is not a 
stubborn, rude bus driver. He emerges in 1961 as a hoodlum 
stomping the bleeding face of a Freedom Rider. But neither is 
the Negro today an elderly woman whose grammar is uncer- 
tain; rather, he is college-bred, Ivy League-clad, youthful, ar- 
ticulate and resolute. He has the imagination and drive of the 
young, tamed by discipline and commitment. The nation and 
the world have reacted with astonishment at these students 
cast from a new mold, unaware that a chain reaction was ac- 
cumulating explosive force behind a strangely different facade. 

Generating these changes is a phenomenon Victor Hugo 
described in these words: "There is no greater power on earth 
than an idea whose time has come." In the decade of the Six- 
ties the time for freedom for the Negro has come. This simple 
truth illuminates the motivations, the tactics and the objectives 
of the students' daring and imaginative movement. 

The young Negro is not in revolt, as some have suggested, 
against a single pattern of timid, fumbling, conservative lead- 
ership. Nor is his conduct to be explained in terms of youth's 
excesses. He is carrying forward a revolutionary destiny of a 
whole people consciously and deliberately. Hence the extraor- 
dinary willingness to fill the jails as if they were honors classes 
and the boldness to absorb brutality, even to the point of 
death, and remain non-violent. His inner strength derives from 
his goal of freedom and the leadership role he has grasped 
even at a time when some of his white counterparts still grope 
in philosophical confusion searching for a personal goal with 
human values, searching for security from economic instabil- 


ity, and seeking relief from the haunting fear of nuclear de- 

Part of the impatience of Negro youth stems from their ob- 
servation that change is taking place rapidly in Africa and 
other parts of the world, but comparatively slowly in the 
South. When the United States Supreme Court handed down 
its historic desegregation decision in 1954, many of us, per- 
haps naively, thought that great and sweeping school inte- 
gration would ensue. Yet, today, seven years later, only 7 per 
cent of the Negro children of the South have been placed in 
desegregated schools. At the current rate it will take ninety- 
three more years to desegregate the public schools of the 
South. The collegians say, "We can't wait that long" or simply, 
"We won't wait!" 

Negro students are coming to understand that education and 
learning have become tools for shaping the future and not 
devices of privilege for an exclusive few. Behind this spiritual 
explosion is the shattering of a material atom. 

The future of the Negro college student has long been 
locked within the narrow walls of limited opportunity. Only a 
few professions could be practiced by Negroes and, but for a 
few exceptions, behind barriers of segregation in the North as 
well as the South. Few frustrations can compare with the ex- 
perience of struggling with complex academic subjects, strain- 
ing to absorb concepts which may never be used, or only half- 
utilized under conditions insulting to the trained mind. 

A Negro interne blurted out to me shortly after his patient 
died, "1 wish I were not so well trained because then I would 
never know how many of these people need not die for lack of 
proper equipment, adequate post-operative care and timely ad- 
mission. I'm not practicing good medicine. I'm presiding over 
tragedies which the absence of good medicine creates." 

There is another respect in which the Negro student is bene- 
fiting, and simultaneously contributing to, society as a whole. 
He is learning social responsibility; he is learning to earn, 
through his own direct sacrifice, the result he seeks. There are 
those who would make him soft, pliable and conformist— a 
mechanical organization man or an uncreative status seeker. 
But the experience of Negro youth is as harsh and demanding 
as that of the pioneer on the untamed frontier. Because his 
struggle is complex, there is no place in it for the frivolous or 
rowdy. Knowledge and discipline are as indispensable as cour- 
age and self-sacrifice. Hence the forging of priceless qualities 


of character is taking place daily as a high moral goal is pur- 

Inevitably there will emerge from this caldron a mature 
man, experienced in life's lessons, socially aware, unafraid of 
experimentation and, most of all, imbued with the spirit of 
service and dedication to a great ideal. The movement there- 
fore gives to its participants a double education— academic 
learning from books and classes, and life's lessons from re- 
sponsible participation in social action. Indeed, the answer to 
the quest for a more mature, educated American, to compete 
successfully with the young people of other lands, may be pres- 
ent in this new movement. 

Of course, not every student in our struggle has gained from 
it. This would be more than any humanly designed plan could 
realize. For some, the opportunity for personal advantage 
presented itself and their character was not equal to the chal- 
lenge. A small percentage of students have found it convenient 
to escape from their own inadequacies by identifying with 
the sit-ins and other activities. They are, however, relatively 
few because this is a form of escape in which the flight from 
responsibility imposes even greater responsibilities and risks. 

It is not a solemn life, for all of its seriousness. During a 
vigorous debate among a group of students discussing the 
moral and practical soundness of non-violence, a majority re- 
jected the employment of force. As the minority dwindled to a 
single student, he finally declared, "All I know is that, if rabbits 
could throw rocks, there would be fewer hunters in the forest." 

This is more than a witty remark to relieve the tensions of 
serious and even grim discussion. It expresses some of the 
pent-up impatience, some of the discontent and some of the 
despair produced by minute corrections in the face of enor- 
mous evil. Students necessarily have conflicting reactions. It is 
understandable that violence presents itself as a quick, effective 
answer for a few. 

For the large majority, however, non-violent, direct action 
has emerged as the better and more successful way out. It does 
not require that they abandon their discontent. This discontent 
is a sound, healthy social response to the injustice and brutality 
they see around them. Non-violence offers a method by which 
they can fight the evil with which they cannot live. It offers a 
unique weapon which, without firing a single bullet, disarms 
the adversary. It exposes his moral defenses, weakens his mo- 
rale, and at the same time works on his conscience. 

Another weapon which Negro students have employed crea- 
tively in their non-violent struggle is satire. It has enabled them 
to avoid corrosive anger while pressing the cutting edge of 
ridicule against the opponent. When they have been admon- 
ished to "go slow," patiently to wait for gradual change, with 


a straight face they will assure you that they are diligently 
searching for the happy medium between the two extremes of 
moderation and gradualism. 

It is perhaps the special quality of non-violent direct action, 
which sublimates anger, that explains why so few students are 
attracted to extreme nationalist sects advocating black su- 
premacy. The students have anger under controlling bonds of 
discipline. Hence they can answer appeals for cooling-off pe- 
riods by advocating cooling-off for those who are hot with 
anger and violence. 

Much has been made of the willingness of these devotees of 
non-violent social action to break the law. Paradoxically, al- 
though they have embraced Thoreau's and Gandhi's civil diso- 
bedience on a scale dwarfing any past experience in American 
history, they do respect law. They feel a moral responsi- 
bility to obey just laws. But they recognize that there are also 
unjust laws. 

From a purely moral point of view, an unjust law is one that 
is out of harmony with the moral law of the universe. More 
concretely, an unjust law is one in which the minority is com- 
pelled to observe a code that is not binding on the majority. An 
unjust law is one in which people are required to obey a code 
that they had no part in making because they were denied the 
right to vote. 

In disobeying such unjust laws, the students do so peace- 
fully, openly and non-violently. Most important, they willingly 
accept the penalty, whatever it is, for in this way the public 
comes to re-examine the law in question and will thus decide 
whether it uplifts or degrades man. 

This distinguishes their position on civil disobedience from 
the "uncivil disobedience" of the segregationist. In the face of 
laws they consider unjust, the racists seek to defy, evade and 
circumvent the law, and they are unwilling to accept the pen- 
alty. The end result of their defiance is anarchy and disrespect 
for the law. The students, on the other hand, believe that he 
who openly disobeys a law, a law conscience tells him is un- 
just, and then willingly accepts the penalty, gives evidence 
thereby that he so respects that law that he belongs in jail 
until it is changed. Their appeal is to the conscience. 

Beyond this, the students appear to have perceived what an 
older generation overlooked in the role of law. The law tends 
to declare rights— it does not deliver them. A catalyst is needed 
to breathe life experience into a judicial decision by the per- 
sistent exercise of the rights until they become usual and ordi- 
nary in human conduct. They have offered their energies, their 
bodies to effect this result. They see themselves the obstetri- 
cians at the birth of a new order. It is in this manner that the 


students have related themselves to and materialized "the idea 
whose time has come." 

In a sense, the victories of the past two years have been 
spectacular and considerable. Because of the student sitters, 
more than 150 cities in the South have integrated their lunch 
counters. Actually, the current break-throughs have come 
about partly as a result of the patient legal, civil and social 
ground clearing of the previous decades. Then, too, but slowly, 
the national Government is realizing that our so-called domes- 
tic race relations are a major force in our foreign relations. 
Our image abroad reflects our behavior at home. 

Many liberals, of the North as well as the South, when they 
list the unprecedented progress of the past few years, yearn 
for a "cooling off" period; not too fast, they say, we may lose 
all that we have gained if we push faster than the violent ones 
can be persuaded to yield. 

This view, though understandable, is a misreading of the 
goa,ls of the young Negroes. They are not after "mere tokens" 
of integration ("tokenism," they call it); rather theirs is a re- 
volt against the whole system of Jim Crow and they are pre- 
pared to sit-in, kneel-in, wade-in and stand-in until every wait- 
ing room, rest room, theatre and other facility throughout the 
nation that is supposedly open to the public is in fact open to 
Negroes, Mexicans, Indians, Jews or what-have-you. Theirs is 
total commitment to this goal of equality and dignity. And for 
this achievement they are prepared to pay the costs— what- 
ever they are— in suffering and hardship as long as may be 

21. Neil Haworth and Peace News: 

As the arms race between the United States and the Soviet 
Union accelerated through the 1950s and one disarmament 
conference followed another, always without any real success, 
many people in the United States, Britain, and Western Europe 
began to look about for ways of dramatizing the peril in which 
the world found itself. Their object was twofold: to break 
through inertia and awaken world opinion to the dangers, and 
to halt the arms race through direct action of their own. 

Non-violent resistance took many different forms. There 
were vigils before the White House and the Prime Minister's 
residence in London. The Committee for Nuclear Disarma- 
ment in Britain sponsored gigantic marches and demonstra- 
tions. Some, like Bertrand Russell, simply sat down in the 
streets, compelling the police to remove them, as a protest 
against existing trends. Numbers of people in the United States 
refused to pay income taxes, or at least the portion of their 
tax that presumably would be used for military defense. ^_ 

Outright civil disobedience was also employed. Men and 
women defied New York law by deliberately refusing to take 
cover during the annual Civil Defense air raid drills, protesting 
both the futility of Civil Defense and its role in making the 
American people war-minded. Many were arrested and fined 
or jailed. In Omaha, Nebraska, a number invited arrest by 
peacefully invading a missile base, and in New London. Con- 
necticut, an organized group from time to time boarded— or at- 
tempted to board— Polaris submarines under construction there, 
while others distributed leaflets protesting military preparations 
and what they considered to be the illusion of military defense. 
Activities of this kind in the United States are under the aus- 
pices of such organizations as the Committee for Non-violent 
Action, and the War Resisters League, in which most of the 
leadership is strongly imbued with Gandhian ideas. 

One of the most dramatic types of non-violent direct action 
against preparation for war was the series of efforts to send 


ships into ocean areas where the United States was testing nu- 
clear weapons. These included the voyages of the Golden Rule 
and the Phoenix in the fifties and of the Everyman (I, II, and 
III) series in the early sixties. 

The voyage of the Golden Rule was sponsored by the Com- 
mittee for Non-violent Action. The Captain was Albert Bige- 
low, a veteran of service in the United States Navy who had 
become disillusioned with the whole military system and was 
eager to protest against preparation for future war. Although 
at first he was reluctant to undertake the voyage into the test- 
ing area in the Pacific Ocean, after much persuasion he agreed 
to do so. The money was somehow raised. In addition to Bige- 
low, there was a crew of four persons, all of them active in 
various aspects of the non-violent direct action movement. 

The ketch headed for Hawaii, which it reached on April 19, 
1958, attracting considerable attention in Honolulu. The gov- 
ernment obtained a Federal District Court order restraining 
Bigelow from taking his ship beyond Hawaii. When the crew 
attempted to defy this injunction, they were arrested and, after 
serving a few days in jail, put on probation. The injunction and 
contempt citation were appealed to the Circuit Court of Ap- 
peals in San Francisco. 

Another attempt to take the Golden Rule out to sea resulted 
in Captain Bigelow's second arrest, and when other members 
of the crew sought to sail the ship without him, they were 
sentenced to sixty days in the Honolulu jail. In acting after this 
fashion, Captain Bigelow argues, he and his crew were simply 
carrying on an old American tradition: 

Civil disobedience should properly be called consider- 
ate disobedience. The word "civil," in the phrase, means 
with civility, politeness, courtesy, or consideration. It is 
disobedience with loving-kindness. It is a deliberate act- 
undertaken after careful and prayerful deliberation. It is 
never mere revolt against authority. 

The only unusual thing about considerate disobedience 
is that Americans should think it unusual. We have a tra- 
dition of disobedience. We are rooted in many examples. 
Two instances are the Boston Tea Party and the assist- 
ance to runaway slaves. . . - 1 

The imprisonment of the Golden Rule's crew attracted at- 
tention throughout the world and thus at least one objective of 

1 Albert Bigelow, The Voyage of the Golden Rule: An Experi- 
ment with Truth (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1959), p. 143. 


the voyage was attained: the protest against nuclear testing had 
been dramatized. In connection with the affair, the Atomic 
Energy Commission in Washington was picketed, and many of 
those who had contributed to the cause presented themselves 
to the Department of Justice for arrest as co-conspirators. 

Another ship, the Phoenix, commanded by the anthropolo- 
gist Earle Reynolds did manage to sail into the testing area in 
late June 1958. 2 There it was met by a Coast Guard cutter 
and forced to sail to Kwajalein, from where Reynolds was 
flown to Hawaii and convicted of violating the AEC regulation 
forbidding entry into the testing area— a rule of doubtful legal- 
ity, since under international law the high seas are open to ships 
of all nations. 

Although these direct non-violent actions did not result in 
the abandonment of testing at the time, they did have consid- 
erable success in arousing opinion and probably helped pre- 
pare the way for the nuclear testing moratorium of 1958-61. 

This reading includes descriptions of two quite different ap- 
plications of the idea of non-violent resistance to preparations 
for war. The first section, by Neil Haworth, a participant, tells 
of the vigil and civil disobedience at Newport News, Virginia, 
where a Polaris submarine was about to be commissioned. The 
protest was similar to those that were taking place almost con- 
tinuously at New London, Connecticut, attracting a good deal 
of sympathetic attention. 

The second section of our reading gives a brief account of 
the walk from San Francisco to Moscow of a small band of 
American non-violent resisters who were joined by many other 
demonstrators. When the University of Moscow authorities 
tried to halt their meeting (to fulfill a schedule), Russian stu- 
dents insisted that the discussion go on (it continued for two 
additional hours). The Manchester Guardian commented, Oc- 
tober 7, 1961: "This is far from a trivial happening. In a dic- 
tatorship any public outbreak of forbidden ideas is significant; 
it becomes widely known even if nothing is reported in the 

The first section is taken from the Committee for Non- 
violent Action Bulletin for October 20, 1960 and the second 
from Peace News Supplement of October 20, 1961. 

2 See Earle L. Reynolds, The Forbidden Voyage (New York: 
McKay, 1961). 



Prompted by a concern to carry resistance to the heart of 
U.S. Naval operations at the world's largest Naval base and to 
protest at the commissioning of the third Polaris sub Robert 
E. Lee, several of us started south from New London Sept. 7. 
We made preliminary investigations of the physical situation at 
the most important Naval installations, and of the ordinances 
in several towns. We began activity Friday afternoon, Sept. 9 
with leaflet distribution at the Newport News Shipbuilding and 
Drydock Co., builders of Polaris subs, nuclear powered air- 
craft carriers and other vessels of destruction. 

The distribution went amazingly well, with the majority of 
workers accepting leaflets, and very few discarded on the 
street. Our supply was exhausted just as the last of the day 
shift people were departing. As we prepared to leave we were 
approached by three police detectives. They had orders to stop 
our leaflet distribution and referred to a certain ordinance as 
prohibiting it. Joe Glynn had read the ordinance and pointed 
out that it referred only to advertising material. The detectives 
asked us to come to the police station to talk with the Chief. 
We agreed, but on arriving found the Chief busy and talked 
with the Assistant Chief instead. He was extraordinarily cour- 
teous but very firm in his insistence that section 70.2 of the 
Newport News ordinances prohibited the distribution of all 
sorts of political, religious and thought-provoking leaflets as 
well as advertising, although the language of the ordinance 
was quite clear. We tried to be equally polite and equally firm 
in insisting on our right to distribute the leaflets. We informed 
him of our plan to hold a vigil outside the shipyard from 
6:30 AM Monday through 5 PM Tuesday. His response to 
this was to show us ordinance 70.7, which prohibited the 
painting or erection of any sort of sign on the paved portion of 
any street or sidewalk. We replied that this would not apply to 
our vigil since we would set up our sign on the grass strip be- 
side the sidewalk outside the shipyard fence. The Assistant 
Chief said in his opinion it would still be a violation and sug- 
gested that we confer with the Chief before starting the vigil. 
We agreed to this despite the fact that it meant delaying the 
vigil since we would be unable to see the Chief before 8 AM 
on Monday. 

On Saturday we held an all-day vigil outside the main gate 
of the Norfolk Naval Base, the world's largest and head- 
quarters of the Atlantic submarine fleet. While there were few 
people to receive leaflets, our sign and vigilers were in plain 
sight of all cars entering the base or passing on the busy boule- 


vard. Shortly after our arrival a security guard came out of 
the base and angrily ordered us to leave. When we politely but 
firmly refused, he knocked over and broke our sign. Then he 
decided we were not on Federal property and not under his 
jurisdiction, and he retreated back into the base. 

Next, half a dozen Norfolk policemen moved in on our four 
vigilers and began asking questions. Their curiosity was ex- 
ceeded by our patience, and after interrogating us for almost 
two hours, they were satisfied and withdrew, leaving two 
rather poorly disguised plainclothesmen to "protect" us from 
the Navy. 

On Sunday we held another all-day vigil, this time at the 
Oceana Naval Air Station. There was no difficulty with the 
police, and after some initial confusion the Navy officials were 
friendly. The CO stopped to warn us of the approaching hur- 
ricane and asked if we had transportation and shelter avail- 
able in an emergency. Two counter-demonstrators appeared 
briefly, and Joe Glynn and Peter Giffen spent two hours dis- 
cussing disarmament in their car— a heavy rain having forced 
them to take shelter. 

Plans for a vigil at the shipyard on Monday were disrupted 
by hurricane Donna. Damage in the area was heavy. The dory 
World Citizen narrowly escaped being crushed by a large tree 
which blew over in the back yard of a home in Virginia Beach 
where some of us were staying. 

By early afternoon, the hurricane had passed and we went 
to Newport News to begin the vigil. Our conference with the 
Chief of Police was brief. He reaffirmed that if we set up a 
sign or distributed leaflets we would be arrested. We replied 
that we felt our demonstration was legal, even under Newport 
News ordinances cited by the police, and we would proceed. 
Considering our limited manpower, it seemed best if only one 
person were arrested at that time. Joe Glynn volunteered and 
began the vigil. 

Since we feared the signs might be confiscated, only one of 
the two was displayed at first. For more than an hour, several 
policemen stood by as the vigil proceeded. As the change of 
shifts approached, Joe decided to set up the other sign. Im- 
mediately, the police moved in and said he was violating the 
law. Joe stood firm and was arrested. Eventually he was taken 
away after the proceeding had been observed by several hun- 
dred workers. The sign was left under guard until picked up 
later amid comments such as "You mean you're going to lock 
the sign up too?" 

At the police station we learned that Joe was being held 
under $300 bond, charged with violation of Ordinance 69. No 
one would show us a copy of it, however. 

At his hearing next morning, Joe was represented by Ed 


Dawley, Norfolk attorney of Jordan, Dawley & Holt, who are 
handling many integration cases, and have gained understand- 
ing of non-violence through working with CORE and the sit- 
ins. Dawley was unable to obtain a copy of Ordinance 69 until 
a court order was issued that one be given. Ordinance 69 was a 
part of the building code related to signs, with 39 sections and 
many subsections. No specific section was alleged to have been 
violated, so Dawley asked that the trial be postponed until the 
next day. The court agreed, ordered the prosecution to pre- 
sent a bill of particulars and reduced bond to $100. We fur- 
nished this in cash and Joe was released. 

The bill of particulars had five charges, principally that Joe 
had failed to obtain a permit from the building inspector prior 
to erecting the sign. Our conferences with the police before the 
vigil did not seem to impress the judge and Joe was found 
guilty and fined $10 plus $2.75 costs. Joe decided to pay so he 
could continue in the action. The trial demonstrated to the city 
officials that we would not back down on our rights and in a 
later action in Newport News the police permitted us to leaflet 
and display a hand-held sign, a considerable change from their 
original position. 

We arrived at the Shipyard about 10 AM. We got the boat 
down the cliff and soon had two men vigiling by water and 
others vigiling outside the gate just 200 feet from the Lee. 
Vigilers had numerous interviews with newsmen come to in- 
spect the sub early. 

We had scheduled an all-day vigil for Wednesday at Nor- 
folk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth. Portsmouth officials said 
we needed a permit to distribute leaflets but they did not grant 
us one. We examined the ordinances in question and found 
that no permit was in fact required for our type of leaflet, and 
in any case our Constitutional rights demanded that a permit 
be granted if required. The trial delayed the vigil, which was 
altered to concentrate on leaflet distribution at the afternoon 
shift change. There was no attempt to prevent this activity. 


Friday, Sept. 16 was the major focus of the project. The 
Robert E. Lee was to be commissioned as the third Polaris 
sub, and we would confront it with civil disobedience and 
other techniques. 

We had difficulty finding a place from which to launch the 
World Citizen which was to be used by those attempting to 
board the sub. The only nearby marina had refused to do busi- 
ness with us, apparently at the instigation of the FBI. The best 
possibility seemed to be to lower the boat down a 30-foot cliff 
to a beach 5 blocks from the Robert E. Lee's berth. We were 


apprehensive about possible harassment by Newport News 

Plans for the demonstration were formulated Friday morn- 
ing in a Norfolk parking lot. Saul Gottlieb and his two assist- 
ants were present to make movies for their documentary of 
Polaris Action. Four members were ready for civil disobedi- 
ence—Victor Richman, Margaret Windus, Don Martin and 
Bill Henry. Four other members were to support them— Bob 
Berk, Joe Glynn, Adriaan Maas and myself. 

During lunch hour workers congregated around us prior 
to returning to work. Our sign read WE SUPPORT CIVIL 
tense situation developed. Lighted cigarettes were thrown at 
Vic Richman, burning holes in his clothing. Someone broke 
the handle from the sign and made off with it. Joe Glynn asked 
that the sign, which he had built, be returned, and his answer 
was a violent body-block. The sign disappeared inside the 
fence. Another sign was hastily prepared. Soon a policeman 
with a dog arrived to "protect" us. This was the first such at- 
tack in the immediate presence of TV cameramen and se- 
curity guards. 

Meanwhile, the boat vigilers had discovered that logs at- 
tached to a cable had been placed across the mouth of the 
slip making it impossible to approach the Lee. I telephoned 
the shipyard president to give him details of our plans. He was 
cordial but uninterested in the details and seemed confident 
that we would not get near the sub. 

The commissioning ceremony was to begin at 2 PM. We 
decided to send Margaret, Bill and Don in the World Citizen 
to land Margaret and Bill on the dock near the sub. Margaret 
would walk towards the Lee and Bill would be prepared to 
swim to it if blocked on foot. Don would row back to pick up 
Vic and Joe, and Joe would row to the log-and-cable barrier 
where Vic and Don would start swimming. But it was found 
that there were now two Coast Guard cutters, two tugboats 
and an outboard motorboat blocking the way. Therefore Mar- 
garet, Bill and Don decided to pick up Vic, intending that the 
three men would swim past the obstructing vessels and Mar- 
garet would row the World Citizen back. 

With our boat blocked 100 feet from the barrier, the three 
men jumped in and headed toward the sub. Despite maneuvers 
by the cutters and tugs, all three swam past the barrier. Now 
the Coast Guard became frantic and ended by sending their 
own swimmers in pursuit. The C.G. swimmers, aided by the 
motorboat inside the barrier, overtook our men before any 
had gotten closer than 50 feet from the Robert E. Lee. Bill 
Henry was towed back by a rope around his chest and Vic was 
suspended by his hair, half out of the water, in the excitement. 


Meanwhile, Margaret observed that there was an opportu- 
nity for her to row forward and land on the dock and begin a 
vigil on some low pilings at the end of the dock. She seized the 
opportunity, landed and pushed the boat out to Saul Gottlieb 
in a rented motorboat. Margaret's presence on shipyard prop- 
erty quite close to the Lee presented the officials with a prob- 
lem. Since arrests were apparently ruled out, they were left 
with a choice of carrying her up a ladder and through the as- 
sembled dignitaries or in a boat; or of leaving her alone to 
continue the vigil. They chose this latter. 

The Coast Guard, having taken our men on board, turned 
their attention to Saul Gottlieb who had moved in for some 
closer pictures. On the pretext of his having violated some 
marine regulation, the motorboat with the World Citizen at- 
tached, was taken in tow to a distant place. 

The rest of us on shore had observed everything except 
Margaret's landing, and we assumed that the demonstration 
was ended. We drove off to locate the people in custody. The 
Coast Guard told us that there were no arrests and also told us 
where they would be unloaded. We arrived there to see our 
men dropped to a concrete dock. Adriaan Maas had remained 
vigiling at the shipyard. A car with Admiral Fitzhugh Lee, 
second in command of the Atlantic Fleet, stopped and the Ad- 
miral asked Adriaan to have a ride and talk. Adriaan went and 
they had a friendly talk although no very great areas of agree- 
ment were reached. 

We had managed to get the World Citizen loaded back onto 
a car, but when we learned of Margaret's vigil we again low- 
ered it down the cliff and Don, Bill and Vic rowed out to set 
up a supporting sea vigil. Others took up positions at the gate. 
Margaret remained on vigil until dusk when she came back in 
the dory. (Remaining longer was obviated by the high tide 
which covers the pilings with water.) 


Ten months on the road, walking 6,000 miles from the des- 
ert and mountains of the United States to the Russian steppes, 
crossing six national frontiers including the "Iron Curtain" 
dividing Germany— this is the outline of the march. 

Sometimes hundreds or thousands of supporters joined, 
sometimes a dozen or less paced through deserted stretches 
alone. A hard core walked all the way, but many long-term 
personnel kept changing owing to illness, commitments or 
personal doubts. The attitude of the authorities and of the peo- 
ple in each country varied in both the Western and Eastern 

There is not one story of the march but thousands, seen 


through the eyes of individual marchers of different ages, na- 
tionalities and background who saw different portions of the 
march; of the national organisers in each country and of the 
hosts in every town along the way; and also of the police, the 
pressmen, the mayors, the military and the ordinary people 
the marchers met. 

The march started in San Francisco on December 1, 1960, 
and arrived in Moscow on October 3. The marchers spent six 
months crossing the United States— 4,000 miles. A selected 
team of 13 Americans plus two photographers flew to London 
on June 1. After a rally in Trafalgar Square on June 4 the 
marchers— joined now by two other Americans, four British 
volunteers, two from Sweden, one from Norway, another 
from Finland and one from West Germany— walked via Alder- 
maston to Southampton, where they took a boat to Le Havre. 

The French authorities would not allow them to land. Five 
of the marchers jumped overboard and swam ashore in pro- 
test; and the team had to return to England. They made a sec- 
ond attempt at entry ten days later, were again not allowed 
ashore, and sent back to England. The marchers then crossed 
over to Belgium, and on July 2 at the border town of Mous- 
cron met with a group of Frenchmen, who had been carrying 
on the march through France in the face of continual obstruc- 
tion and arrests by the police. 

From Mouscron the main team of marchers resumed their 
journey and walked via Brussels to West Germany, crossing 
near Aachen on July 15. They were joined at this stage by a 
French girl volunteer and two Belgian students. Their route 
through West Germany took them through Bonn and Han- 
nover to the East German crossing point at Helmstedt. Mem- 
bers of a "tributary" march through Holland from Amster- 
dam to the German border joined the main team near 
Osnabruck on July 29. During their time in West Germany, 
the marchers defied the ban on demonstrating at military bases 
and were arrested, but allowed to continue the march. 

On August 7 the team, joined now by four more West Ger- 
mans and a Dutch volunteer, crossed the border into East 
Germany. After marching for a week under strict surveillance, 
a crisis arose over the question of the team entering Berlin. 
The crisis in the team's relationship with the East German au- 
thorities coincided with and arose out of the beginning of the 
Berlin crisis. As the marchers refused to bypass Berlin they 
were "deported" back to Helmstedt. 

The march was resumed on August 22 in Poland where the 
team had a warm welcome and a good deal of freedom. They 


were allowed to picket the Defence Ministry in Warsaw and 
made a pilgrimage to Auschwitz. On September 15 they 
crossed the Russian border at Brest. 

In the USSR the march progressed at breakneck speed to 
cover the 660 miles between Brest and Moscow in three weeks. 
The team went through Minsk and Smolensk, met large 
crowds at each town and even in villages and at cross-roads, 
made many speeches and distributed thousands of leaflets. On 
the outskirts of Moscow they picketed a military barracks; on 
October 3 they held a vigil in Red Square. They also spoke at 
the University and had a meeting with Mrs. Khrushchev be- 
fore leaving Moscow on October 8. 

This is but a skeleton outline of the march. . . . 


This is the leaflet— printed in six languages— which the 
marchers distributed along their route across Europe: 


Some of us have walked from San Francisco, almost 4,000 
miles, to the Capital of the United States— Washington D.C. 

For we are equally opposed to the armaments of the East 
and West. We are marching for unconditional disarmament 

The most effective way to any disarmament today, we be- 
lieve, is for some nation to start scrapping its weapons. When 
one country disarms first, it opens the way for others to do the 
same. Some nation must find the courage to act first. 

In each country we pass through we are calling on the 
government to give up nuclear weapons unconditionally and 
to discard military pacts based on them. These pacts intensify 
the Cold War. 

H-bombs and missiles are totally evil. They can kill millions 
of people outright, destroy thousands more slowly from burns 
and radiation sickness, and harm future generations. We can- 
not without protest let our own governments use these weap- 
ons in our name. And any country which has H-bombs and 
missiles, for whatever reason, is in fact willing to use them. 

In the nuclear age war is outdated. It cannot deal effectively 
with major conflicts, and any war is likely to become a nuclear 
war. Dependence on arms must therefore be rejected. 

In this new situation we believe that non-violence such as 
Gandhi used for the freedom of India, and the Norwegian 
teachers used in resisting Hitler— can best defend and enlarge 
freedom and justice. 


All governments should therefore end conscription, start to 
do away with armed forces, and turn to Gandhian non-vio- 
lence to defend freedom and resist tyranny and oppression. 


The world is full of hunger, disease and poverty. We believe 
that the Soviet Union and the United States with other coun- 
tries should pool their resources to remove such suffering— by 
using the money now wasted on weapons of destruction. 

We are appealing above all to the ordinary people in every 
country we walk through to take personal action and to work 
for the unconditional renunciation of arms by their own coun- 
try. In Moscow and in every capital city on our route we shall 
say what the American Marchers have already said in Wash- 
ington, D.C., the capital of the United States: 

"At this stage disarmament can be achieved if one na- 
tion is prepared to take a first step in giving up its arms as 
an example for others to follow." 


Some of us act out of religious conviction, others out of 
commitment to ethical values, and we are united in opposing 
modern war. Because humanity is in such grave danger of de- 
struction, we are determined to speak what we believe to be 
true. In our own countries we have all urged the renunciation 
of mass violence. And we shall continue to do this. Some of us 
have joined demonstrations for disarmament. Others have re- 
fused to pay taxes for war, or have refused military service, 
or have protested at missile bases and atomic plants, or refused 
to work in industries making arms. As a result some of us have 
been arrested in our own countries and have spent time in 


This is our record. These are our beliefs. We hope to be 
able to speak out freely wherever we go. Within each country 
we will insist on distributing our literature, holding our ban- 
ners and talking with the people. Because we believe the dis- 
cussion of our ideas is vital, we are prepared to go to prison if 
prevented from carrying out our march or spreading our be- 

We believe that peace can only come when nations give up 
dependence on military force and turn to the kind of power 
Gandhi used in India. We therefore urge you, according to 
your convictions, to act for peace nowl 

22. Jessie Wallace Hughan and Cecil Hinshaw: 



A central question usually put to those defending the efficacy 
of non-violent power is "What would you do in the event of 
invasion?" The second question quickly follows: "Would you 
simply surrender?" 

By now, the general answers to these questions should be 
obvious. To the first, the reply would be, "Use non-violent 
power." To the second, the advocate of non-violence would 
respond: "No. I repudiate both the immorality and destructive- 
ness of violent power and the cowardice and seeming indiffer- 
ence implied by 'surrender.' " 

An attitude of this kind, of course, has far-reaching corollar- 
ies. It means that a nation pinning its faith on non-violent 
power would surrender everything likely to incite others to vio- 
lence or apparently defendable only by violence. Thus, grossly 
disproportionate economic power, military bases and threats, 
experimentation for military destruction, and imperialist con- 
trol of other peoples would have to go. Sole reliance on non- 
violent power would also imply a considerable reorganization 
of the domestic society and economy. For example, to establish 
adequate economic foundations for peace requires social plan- 
ning. Many ancient shibboleths— such as the one which tends to 
identify national defense with possession of overwhelming mili- 
tary might— would necessarily be undermined. 

Yet the revolution in thinking required for a commitment 
to non-violence is in many respects no greater than those 
through which we have in fact gone in other areas during the 
past generation— for example, in attitudes to social security and 
in sex practices. 

It could be that the threat of annihilation implicit in the arms 
race and the possession of fifty megaton bombs, together with 
increasing awareness of the impossibility of military defense, 
will help generate a similar revolution with respect to use of 
violent power. We would then associate possession of military 
weapons with destruction rather than defense and would dis- 


card them whether others did so or not. We would embark on 
unilateral disarmament in the belief that it would cut through 
the arms race and set in motion a process of competitive dis- 
armament, just as the arms race itself was initiated through 
unilateral acts and responses. And we would be prepared to re- 
sist invasion by non-violent power. 

It is to questions of this kind that our present reading ad- 
dresses itself. It consists of two essays, one by Dr. Jessie Wal- 
lace Hughan, written in 1942, and the other by Dr. Cecil E. 
Hinshaw, published in 1956. Although Dr. Hughan's statement 
was written twenty years ago, most of the issues it raises are 
exactly the questions that continue to be asked about non-vio- 
lent defense. Hinshaw's essay addresses itself specifically to the 
conflict between Communist and Western worlds and stresses 
particularly some of the psychological dimensions involved in 
non-violent defense. 

Neither essay, it will be noted, can guarantee the success of 
non-violent defense. But both suggest that it is more likely to be 
successful than twentieth-century military defense, which on 
the basis of the record has been highly ineffective. 

Dr. Hughan was for many years associated with the work of 
the American War Resisters League and was also an active 
Socialist. Dr. Hinshaw is a graduate of the Boston University 
School of Theology and has been connected for a number of 
years with the peace education work of the American Friends 
Service Committee. 

The Hughan selection is an edited version of her Pacifism 
and Invasion (New York: War Resisters League, 1942). The 
Hinshaw excerpt is from his Non-violent Resistance: A Na- 
tion's Way to Peace, Pendle Hill Pamphlet No. 88 (Walling- 
ford, Pennsylvania: Pendle Hill, 1956). 


The pacifist proposal is a clear cut and serious one, and we 
must be ready to meet the challenge "If our nation should re- 
nounce war and the preparation for war, would this necessitate 
'lying down' before a hypothetical invader?" The present pam- 
phlet is an attempt to answer this question. 

Now fear can be dealt with in only one way. through look- 
ing it straight in the face. We are going to imagine the United 
States completely disarmed and invaded by a foreign foe; we 



will indicate the available measures of defense, and then try 
to evaluate the chances of success as compared with the time 
honored military method. 

Of course we can give no guarantee of victory, and no as- 
surance against losses and casualty lists. We can promise only 
one thing, that while military defense, at its best, means break- 
ing all the Ten Commandments, unarmed defense, at its worst, 
involves no such necessity. Shall we demand of the second 
method, then, a guarantee of success which the first is unable 
to give? Shall we not rather look into its possibilities with 
what objectivity we can, and if we find a reasonable prospect 
that non-violent defense may accomplish its purpose with no 
greater loss and suffering than a war of corresponding magni- 
tude, shall we not welcome the stern opportunity, just as de- 
cent individuals among us all would grasp at any dangers and 
hardships that might enable them to maintain their families 
without resort to manslaughter. 

How Efficient Is Military Defense? 

As the accounts of the present war are far from closed, let 
us take a look at the costs and efficiency of military defense as 
shown by a table of World War belligerents at the end of the 


Known Dead 

Net Money 

Cost Results 

1. Great Britain 


35 billions 


2. Belgium 



3. France 


35 billions 


4. Russia 


22 billions 


5. Germany 


37 billions 


6. Austro-Hungary 


20 billions 


Only two of the countries achieved even partial success. 
Failures meant the direct and indirect deaths of civilians, esti- 
mated as roughly equal to those^tn the armies, and a total of 
ten million refugees, one and a half million of these in Belgium 
and two million in France. 

In considering the risks of military defense it is interesting 
to note that Belgium was well prepared against invasion in 
1914. The peace strength of its army in 1913 was approxi- 
mately 180,000 men, and the military estimates for that year 
amounted to 3,359,890 pounds sterling. 

Belgium was protected also by ironclad treaties of alliance 
with Great Britain and France. Yet Belgium was as com- 
pletely conquered by the German invaders as was Luxemburg, 


which possessed no army and put up no defense at all, both 
countries being eventually set free at the end of the war. 

The tragedy of Czechoslovakia [in World War II] was an 
instance of unsuccessful defense through military prepared- 
ness, in the hope to avoid actual war. Fortified by the "second 
Maginot Line," supplied by the great Skoda munition works 
and relying, like Belgium, on the protection of two great pow- 
ers, the Czech Republic, no more pacifist than Belgium, was 
forced to surrender without a battle. 

The story of Poland, a traditionally belligerent nation with 
military forces of over a million, is even more tragic than that 
of Czechoslovakia, in so far as it declined to "lie down" before 
the aggressor until its men had been slaughtered and its cities 

Finland, another heavily armed small country, succeeded 
for three months, aided by Arctic winter and difficult terrain, 
in beating back the Russian invasion. Its people were heroic; 
its defense included the famous Mannerheim Line; its Allies 
were Britain and France. Yet the terms forced upon it in 
March 1940, were even more severe than those it had scorned 
the previous December. 

History contains no more tragic list of failures in defense 
than those of the years 1939-40. Six highly civilized na- 
tions, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France and 
Greece have been invaded and conquered, leaving out of con- 
sideration countries such as Rumania and Hungary, which 
compromised with the aggressor as a ransom for survival. 

Denmark, whose policy had been consistently anti-militarist 
though not pacifist, offered no resistance, but submitted with- 
out a struggle to German occupation. 

Norway, Holland, Belgium, France and Greece put their 
trust in military defense and in the protection of their power- 
ful ally, Britain. One by one they fell before the German 

The Pacifist Proposal 

In the light of this inadequacy of armed defense, the pro- 
posal is that . . . the United States take the first steps toward 
the goal of complete disarmament. In the event of an unpro- 
voked invasion after this disarmament shall have taken place, 
we contend that the country will not be under the necessity of 
submitting to the invader, but will have at its command the 
tactics of non-violent non-cooperation, in other words, by a 
general strike raised to the nth power. Under this plan resist- 
ance would be carried on, not by professional soldiers but by 
the people as a whole, by refusing to obey the invaders or to 
assist them through personal service or the furnishing of sup- 


Removal of Incentive to Invasion 

It is, of course, true that the chance of an unarmed United 
States being invaded is about that of an unarmed citizen being 
shot as he walks up Fifth Avenue— possible, but improbable. 
The motivation of conquest in the present day world, unless 
such a conquest is undertaken for the sake of gaining military 
advantage in a larger war, is almost wholly economic, the de- 
sire for undeveloped raw materials or vast new fields for the 
investment of capital. The prizes of imperialism are countries 
like Ethiopia or China, with untapped resources and industri- 
ally unsophisticated people. Our own country is developed up 
to the hilt and so overflowing with goods and capital as to offer 
no temptations to conquest. Before it disarms it will, of course, 
have removed all trade restrictions on its own raw materials 
and will have completed the process of setting free its few 
imperialist possessions. 

The policy of settling disputes through the World Court, 
arbitration and conciliation will be extended to questions of 
every type, and knotty problems such as tariffs and currency 
will be committed without reservation on our part to inter- 
national boards of adjustment. By concrete instances we will 
prove to the world the readiness of American business to ac- 
cept financial losses for the sake of peace as formerly for the 
sake of carrying on war. 

The signal for total disarmament would doubtless consist of 
the passage by Congress of the Amendment to the Constitu- 
tion already introduced several times into the Senate, taking 
from government the power to prepare for, to declare or to 
carry on war. As pacifist opinion gained in the United States, 
however, the army and navy would gradually have been re- 
duced to such negligible proportions that the final passage of 
the amendment would form the culmination of a process 
whose goal was definitely foreseen. Foreign nations would then 
be formally notified of the unconditional adherence of the 
United States to the Kellogg Pact, and would not fail to assure 
us in the honeyed words of diplomacy of their wholehearted 
cooperation and devotion to the cause of world peace. The 
following up of this proclamation by actual disarmament 
might indeed tax the credulity of foreign governments. . . . 
All doubts would be removed, however, by the immediate 
throwing open to inspection of our former military and naval 
posts and munition centers. 

By the time that disarmament goes through, therefore, we 
shall be endangered by none of the undeveloped territory 
which has rendered Great Britain and France as choice tar- 
gets as Ethiopia and China, and by no bristling armaments 


such as rallied the world against Germany in 1914 and have 
again driven the terrified nations into war. 

It is to be remembered also that the modification of the 
social mind which brings disarmament will have brought also 
a radical change in our own conceptions of patriotism and na- 
tional honor. Patriotism is already becoming a very concrete 
matter, under the stress of civilian defense, and is expressing 
itself less in verbal protestations than in obedience to law and 
protecting love for one's fellow citizens— young men of military 
age as well as women and children. ... As complete disarma- 
ment approaches reality, anti-militarism will pari passu have 
emerged as a sacred national ideal, for which patriots will 
freely sacrifice personal interest and if necessary life itself. 
Our state department, therefore, will be held strictly account- 
able for preserving friendly international relations and its effi- 
ciency will be measured by the skill with which it prevents dis- 
putes with other nations from approaching the danger line of 
war. To this department, rather than to the military, will be 
entrusted the lives and property of the country. 

If asked how we know that these radical changes in social 
psychology and diplomacy will have entered into the situation, 
we reply that they are essential to the earlier stages of pacifist 
policy, and cannot fail to be accomplished facts before any 
nation is ready to take the final step of renunciation of all war. 

Facing the Hypothesis 

Once more we repeat our hypothesis, that of a country 
which has voluntarily renounced all war and done away with 
armament, this step having been prepared for by years of re- 
liance upon policies of international justice and friendship 
rather than upon force or the growing threat of force, and of 
an unprovoked invasion by a foreign foe. Chimerical as may 
seem the idea of a foreign invasion under these conditions, the 
problem before us is confessedly a fantastic one, which we 
have promised to face in all seriousness. The imagination can 
call up certain possibilities. A government bankrupted through 
armament might hope to reimburse itself by tribute levied 
upon Wall Street; a dictator might seek to retain power 
through the prestige of foreign conquest or through the spread- 
ing of Fascist ideals by fire and sword. 

Since there could be no mobilization on our part to make 
haste imperative, the foreign government would, of course, 
begin with negotiations of one kind or another— demands for 
tribute, territory, or complete surrender of political existence. 


These would be met by our government with diplomacy, with 
offers of arbitration and conciliation, and with formal re- 
course to the World Court. Only after deliberate defiance of 
world opinion could an enemy nation issue the ultimatum pre- 
liminary to invasion or proceed to a surprise attack without 
such notice. 

We now have the United States faced with the alternative 
of resistance to the death or of "lying down" in submission. It 
is true that resistance is a lottery at best, and that even such 
absolute surrender as that of Germany in 1918 would have 
lost half its tragedy if it could have been put through in the 
summer of 1914, before a soldier had been mobilized. In the 
absence of revenge any tribute must be imposed by greed 
alone, and in that case might prove as stimulating to the sur- 
rendered country as the tribute paid by France after the 
Franco-Prussian war. Cultural ideas which run counter to 
group spirit can, of course, be enforced in name only, and 
there is evidence that a nation united in devotion to its tradi- 
tions may maintain its own way of life even after nominal 

How a Pacifist Nation Would "Prepare" 

In the present discussion, however, we are disregarding the 
alternative of submission in any degree, and assuming a people 
firm in the determination to die rather than yield as individuals, 
or as a nation, to the demands of an invader. No surrender 
but resistance to the bitter end is the national policy. 

The country is prepared for the conflict, having taken the 
bold step of disarmament, after years of mounting pacifism 
and in full anticipation of a possible test. Adventurous spirits 
have even looked forward to the chance of invasion as to the 
literal "war to end war" in which their nation might be the 
protagonist, with opportunities of heroism for every citizen 
undreamed of under the old regime. 

The entire populace has been continually educated by all 
the resources of school, church and radio. Recognizing that 
its own country embodies liberty in such concrete forms as 
freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of con- 
science, it has centered its patriotism about these realities 
rather than such abstractions as empire and victory; accord- 
ingly it is alert to challenge any violation of civil liberty by 
friend or foe and to refuse even at serious sacrifice to submit 
to them. It has learned that while an individual can be re- 
stricted or punished, he can never be compelled to action 
against his will; its heroes have shifted from Caesar and Na- 
poleon to such men as Socrates and Pastor Niemoeller. It has 
become a national ideal to despise anger and cruelty as path- 
ological and to hold all human life sacred. 


Most difficult of all, the masses have been trained in the 
exercise of individual courage, measured by the cool test of 
deliberate heroism rather than group recklessness. . . . 

As pacifism gradually becomes the conviction of the ma- 
jority of citizens, the soldier's task of killing the enemy will 
have lost the attraction it now holds, but the soldierly virtue 
of enduring hardship and death for one's country will have 
become the ideal, not of a single profession, but of an entire 
population. Government officials particularly, from the head 
of the state to the lowest civil servant, will realize themselves 
to be the successors of the army in its function of national 
defense, pledged, whatever their rank, to unswerving loyalty 
if crises should arise. 

The present use of the word "defense" to designate services 
as far removed from the military as housing and teaching is 
an indication that the foundations for non-violent resistance on 
a national scale are already being laid. 

Exploration and surveys, soil reclamation, civilian avia- 
tion, prevention of flood and disease, relief of suffering from 
natural disasters at home and abroad, all these can afford in- 
creasing scope for the trained abilities now set apart for de- 
structive purposes. The coast guard, enlarged to furnish pro- 
tection throughout all coasts and inland waters, and the fire 
department, developed in forest and rural districts to the effi- 
ciency already achieved in cities, are amply able to provide 
physical equivalents for war, and can be made equally rep- 
utable by assigning to them the rank, pay and pensions now 
reserved for military defenders. A similar rise in honor and 
compensation can elevate the police force, both local and 
national, to the level of dignity where the army and navy now 

It is upon these various defense services, their officers high 
in the counsels of government and their privates in close touch 
with citizens everywhere, that the pacifist nation will rely in 
such hypothetical dangers as invasion by a foreign toe. 

The propaganda and intelligence departments would carry 
even more responsibility under a pacifist government than at 
present. In time of peace their duty will be to inform the world 
of each concrete measure of disarmament and to interpret 
our policy of international friendliness to foreign peoples as 


well as to their governments. Radio and the screen will be 
utilized for this purpose, and our consulates abroad will cir- 
culate countless bulletins making clear the application of our 
"good neighbor" policy to the country in question. In case of 
invasion those departments will keep both friendly and hostile 
nations in touch with every measure and event. The foreign 
press will be given all facilities for news getting, and battalions 
of daring aviators will be ready to shower leaflets upon the 
enemy country if access to the press is closed. As observers 
abroad will have no discrepancies to reconcile between the 
protestations of our government and its known policies before 
the crisis, emergency propaganda of this type will be able to 
carry conviction impossible under the present regime. 

Physical preparations for defense will of course be made, 
far less expensive than in the case of military resistance, but 
not less essential. The first of these is obviously the destruc- 
tion of all firearms and other weapons of offense, with the 
machinery for producing them. This pledge of good faith to 
other nations is also a necessary defense measure to obviate 
"sniping" and other provocative incidents. Moreover, it will 
be important for an invading army to know that we possess 
no stores of war munitions which it may seize. For some time 
an exception may have to be made of the rifles of professional 
hunters and of small arms in the hands of the police, but, when 
private sale has once been abolished, only a negligible supply 
of the latter need be retained. As military "atrocities" chiefly 
occur under conditions of intoxication, one of the first war 
measures will be to destroy all distilleries and supplies of liq- 
uor throughout the country. Food and other necessities will 
have been stored at strategic points. Other defense plans will 
relate to methods of communication, of speedy evacuation, 
of rehabilitation, and of rendering various districts capable of 
maintaining themselves in possible isolation. The suggestions 
of the present article are the merest foreshadowings of the de- 
fense tactics which may be adopted. . . . 

The Principles of Unarmed Defense 

Though we cannot pretend to a complete blueprint of the 
working of unarmed defense, the four main principles are al- 
ready established: 

1. No services or supplies to be furnished to invaders. 

2. No orders to be obeyed except those of the constitutional 
civil authorities. 

3. No insult or injury to be offered the invaders. 

4. All public officials to be pledged to die rather than sur- 


A Battle Without Arms 

Let us now envisage the situation presented by the fan- 
tastic hypothesis of an invasion, fantastic in view of the years 
of friendly international policy which have preceded it, but 
yet a possibility. The potential enemy has ignored proposals 
of conciliation, and has either issued a humiliating ultimatum 
or opened hostilities by a surprise attack upon our coast. The 
world has its ear to the radio, and our government and people, 
morally and physically prepared, brace themselves for the con- 
flict. As defense involves not only those of military age, but 
every man, woman and child in the community, there is im- 
mediate evacuation from threatened localities of all persons 
likely to be incapacitated through fear or physical weakness. 
Provision is quickly made for emergency supplies and com- 
munication, according to plans thought out beforehand. Civil 
officials, including directors of public utilities, as well as of 
government, have accepted the full responsibilities and dan- 
gers of leadership; succession to each important office has been 
provided for in the event of death or imprisonment, and citi- 
zens are well acquainted with the order in which those names 
on the long list of honor will take the place of those who have 

Meeting with no opposition other than the ordinary traffic 
regulations, the enemy commander, with an escort picked for 
courage, enters the City Hall and is received with courtesy by 
the Mayor. After diplomatic preliminaries the Mayor, follow- 
ing the precedent of the heroic Mayor of Vienna in 1934, re- 
fuses the order to surrender and is taken prisoner. The first 
vice-mayor automatically succeeds, but the invaders exclude 
him from the City Hall, setting in his place a traitor or an 
officer of their own. Executives and clerks continue to perform 
their duties, however, until commands arrive from the enemy 
usurper, when they either ignore the orders or cease work al- 
together, quietly destroying combinations and documents if 
opportunity offers. 

The city departments of fire and police, with the public 
utility services of telegraph, telephone and electricity, continue 
to function under their regular heads until these receive enemy 
orders. At this point they, too, will disregard specific com- 
mands or declare an instantaneous strike. Workers in ga- 
rages, gas stations, airports and railroads will go on serving 
the civil population until interfered with, and resume work if 
and when pressure is removed. If their chief is arrested, the 
workers automatically transfer obedience to his successor on 
the list, failing to report to duty under an enemy appointee, 
but ready at a moment's notice to rally to their authorized 
head. _x 



Food and strategic materials, if not already publicly owned, 
are controlled by trustworthy officials directed to refuse all 
supplies to the invaders, but to conserve and distribute them 
for the benefit of civilians. 

' The citizens in general follow the same rigid program of 
passive resistance as public employees. No one insults the in- 
terlopers, but no one sells to them or works for them. The 
usurping commander issues orders which are firmly ignored, 
but strict obedience is given to those legitimate officers who 
remain in authority. Civilian occupations go on as usual till 
the enemy touches them. In that case, work stops by magic and 
that particular unit of industry remains frozen till further no- 

Everywhere the invaders meet the same conditions— no bat- 
tles, no opposing armies, no dangers, no chances for heroism. 
On the other hand, no surrenders to figure in the dispatches, 
no peasants offering food, no sullenly obedient populace, no 
technicians or workers to man the utilities. The soldiers have 
nothing to do but to serve themselves by routine labor, var- 
ied by assaults upon unarmed citizens and ignominious robbing 
of shops and hen-roosts. 

Neither army morale nor war fever in the aggressor nation 
is likely to hold out long against this reversal of all that makes 
the spirit of a campaign. Our propaganda works havoc with 
the foreign soldiers and their own opposition politics with the 
foreign citizens. Before many weeks or months elapse, it is 
probable that the enemy government will hasten to cover up 
its blunder by recalling the inglorious and unprofitable expedi- 
tion. [Nevertheless, let us face frankly]— 

The Hypothesis of Ruthlessness 

After the first skirmish with the people, the foreign general 
will consult his government as to the alternatives, terrorism or 
compromise. He has power to torture striking workers, exe- 
cute disobedient citizens and deliberately starve the resisting 

In the enemy country the first hysteria has died down, for 
civilian war spirit, like that of the army, requires battles and 
heroism for its sustenance. The opposition to the ruling group, 
always present whether open or suppressed, begins to gather 

Furthermore, the nation must save its face with other pow- 
ers by at least the pretence of justifiability. Since a military 
dictatorship is even more dependent than a normal govern- 
ment upon the maintenance of an emergency situation, it can- 
not fail to find its popular support seriously undermined. Ac- 


cordingly . . . self-preservation will prescribe the more mod- 
erate course, to make the most of its nominal victory rather 
than risk political defeat through wantonly terroristic meas- 

In this case the invaders, after a number of arrests and con- 
fiscations, will advance to their next objective, leaving behind 
them, in addition to the usual garrison, a complete corps of 
technicians and workers for essential services and communi- 
cations. The citizens meanwhile will have returned more or 
less to normal life, hampered by the presence of the garrison, 
suffering occasional arrests and even executions when orders 
conflict, and subject to seizures of property when foraging 
necessity demands it. Their condition will be unenviable and 
even pitiable, but will differ more in degree than in kind from 
that of civilians under martial law in territory occupied by 
their own military defenders. 

We are deliberately facing, however, the most fantastic hy- 
pothesis which can be devised, and must force our imagina- 
tions to a third possibility— that of extreme and gratuitous ruth- 
lessness such as has never yet appeared in history. We are to 
envisage an implacable commander under an unscrupulous 
government, supported by a political party quite reckless of 
world or minority opinion. Conquest at all cost is the policy 
chosen; as civil officials refuse obedience they are one after 
the other arrested and executed, and recalcitrant workers are 
herded into concentration camps, their posts being filled by 
foreign soldiers. As enemy technicians are limited in number, 
only work necessary to the army will be performed and the 
public utilities will be largely cut off. 

An actual battle is under way, between starvation and en- 
emy violence on one hand and the will of a selected civilian 
population on the other. The food supply will of course con- 
stitute the chief point of strategy. Provisions for some days 
have been brought by the foreign transports, but these must 
be economized for an emergency while the army lives as far 
as possible upon the country. As part of its defense precau- 
tions the home government has avoided concentration of es- 
sential supplies where they may be seized, and the invaders 
proceed to the robbery of small stocks in the hands of re- 
tailers and individuals. Foraging parties break into homes and 
warehouses, carrying off what supplies they find, but the food 
industry, like other services, congeals into strikes as soon as 
interfered with. Dairy products, meat and fresh vegetables 
cannot be bought or requisitioned. The shop is closed, the 
dairy is uncared for, the crops are ungathered, and the stream 
of commodities which normally enters the city by train or 


truck is immediately cut off at its sources and turned by the 
government to other districts. A modern city is seldom distant 
more than a few days from famine, and in a very short time 
the limits of seizure have been reached. The army finds itself 
reduced to dependence upon imported supplies, in the midst 
of a populace kept from starvation only in so far as it is per- 
mitted to handle its own provisions unmolested. 

At the first threat to the civilian food supply, on the other 
hand, the evacuation has begun of those persons who remained 
in the invaded region. By train and motor car until these are 
seized, and then on foot, they scatter over the country, de- 
stroying crops and stores as they go. . . . 

Have there been casualties? There have— executions, impris- 
onments, deaths from exposure and starvation. 

There is also the possibility that ruthlessness may do its 
worst, resorting to air and sea bombardment, high explosives 
and poison gas, to break the will of the people. Under mili- 
tary defense, on the other hand, attempts at bombardment 
are not a mere possibility but a certainty . . . 

As is now made clear to civilian defense groups, the govern- 
ment in war time aims first to protect things— factories and 
military supplies— and second to protect people, 1 but restric- 
tion of funds sets definite limits to those efforts. A pacifist gov- 
ernment, on the other hand, would not be hampered in this 
way, but could direct its entire resources to the defense of 
civilian life and property. 

It would be comparatively easy also to effect the evacua- 
tion of threatened towns. . . . Military governments are 
strictly limited in these matters, as the conventional defense re- 
quires the concentration of soldiers at danger points, with 
civilians for essential services, but the non-violent state could 
arrange for the complete evacuation of danger zones, and 
would, of course, gain efficiency by being able to employ all 
its resources for the defense of civilians. 

After making all allowances, the number of casualties is 
no easier to compute than in an old style conflict. ... Is 
there any general sufficiently barbarous to decree even fifty 
per cent of this slaughter against unarmed civilians? It is pos- 
sible, but improbable. 

Between the two courses of nominal seizure of government 
and ruthless terrorism or bombardment there are of course 

1 The British Defence Ministry's 1957 White Paper gives first 
priority to air bases and admits that British cities cannot really be 
defended.— Ed. 


countless degrees and modifications which would approach 
far more nearly a true forecast. 

The Enemy Has Gained Nothing 

Be the losses little or great, however, the important point is 
that the enemy has gained nothing by the engagement, whether 
in indemnity, supplies or capitulation. If an air force has been 
employed it will of course be unable to occupy the district, 
and an army attempting to follow up its advantage would 
meet in exaggerated form the conditions already indicated, a 
city stripped of supplies and of all inhabitants but an unyield- 
ing even if starving group of survivors. 

In any case the invaders will proceed to press on into the 
interior, leaving a garrison behind them with workers for 
transport and communication. 

Everywhere the invaders meet with communities of unyield- 
ing civilians, resolute in giving obedience to none but their 
own government; they receive no services of any kind from 
the population, and can secure supplies only from the forcible 
seizure of small stocks, which diminish and disappear in pro- 
portion to the degree of ruthlessness exerted. 

The invading soldiers must depend upon imported supplies 
and as they advance into the interior transportation becomes 
a serious problem. In the World War, 100,000 men and 25,000 
animals required the transportation of 780 to 2,100 tons daily, 
aside from ammunition. A present day authority, Major 
George Fielding Eliot, considers four tons of supplies neces- 
sary for every soldier, "plus eight tons for his equipment, 
etc." 2 ; for an invading force of 100,000 this would require 
the transportation of 1,200,000 tons. 

In order to avoid increasing the transportation problem by 
adding an immense force of laborers and technicians, invad- 
ers trust to the inhabitants for the bulk of their skilled and 
unskilled labor and since passive resistance by civilians has 
never constituted a feature of war, this has usually been prac- 

As unarmed defense . . . transfers resistance from the mili- 
tary to the civil population, the invaders of our hypothesis will 
have at their command no assistance of this type. Soldiers must 
not only attend personally to all their needs, but also man with- 
out native help all the railroads, telegraphs, and airports upon 
which the advance depends. At each stage, moreover, they 
must leave behind them a complete local government with gar- 

*The Ramparts We Watch (New York: Reynal, 1938). 


rison, technicians and workers, as the legitimate authorities 
will have new groups of defenders always ready to take the 
risks of restoring civil life at the rear of the invading forces. 
It is, of course, unthinkable that the enemy would under- 
take the maintenance of public utilities and government upon 
any peace time scale. In 1935 the railroad employees of the 
United States numbered 1,013,000 and the federal civil serv- 
ice 824,259, amounting together to more than half the Ger- 
man or the Japanese army of that time, including reserves. 
Even the skeleton service required for military purposes would 
call for thousands of men, and we have taken in this estimate 
no account of garrisons, food, service and utilities other than 
the railroads. We cannot picture the advance of the invaders 
as anything but costly from a financial point of view, pre- 
carious as far as permanent results are concerned, and dis- 
tasteful to the large proportion of the army who are com- 
pelled to exchange uniforms for overalls for an indefinite 

Let us assume this advance of an invading force through a 
first class country to continue for, say a month. The enemy 
has cut a swath of nominal occupation on the one hand, or 
of devastation on the other, through the country. They may 
have reached the goal of our national capitol and burned it, 
as happened in 1813 (a war which was followed by a most 
successful peace). By landing several expeditions they may 
even have laid waste three or four broad paths into the in- 
terior. The effect upon the civil life of these localities has been 
that of a severe natural calamity; and persons and industry 
have been transferred after many casualties to districts as yet 

The invaders, on the other hand, have achieved not 
one of the objectives for which the expedition has been 
launched. . . . 

Any military advantages to the enemy must be only nomi- 
nal. Naval and air bases have no meaning in the unarmed na- 
tion, and are worthless as stepping stones to new conquests 
when the territory is itself of great extent. 

Most important of all, any efforts to engraft a foreign fas- 
cism will encounter, not a people weakened by the unques- 
tioning obedience to the unified state which military defense 
requires, but a nation whose zeal for democracy has been 
sharpened and made effective by crisis after crisis of individual 


Plight of the Enemy Government 

Meanwhile the prestige of conquest has turned to inter- 
national ridicule as our people remain unsubdued and the in- 
vading forces encounter no perils upon which their heroism 
can feed. At the first indication that neither raw materials nor 
investment fields are to be gained, the business interests upon 
which the foreign government depends will criticize sharply 
the policy which has dislocated commerce by putting a former 
customer out of the running. As month after month conscript 
armies and wealth continue to be poured into the invaded 
territory the taxpayers become restive; self-interest, sup- 
pressed for a time under the passions of fear and hate, be- 
comes once more articulate; and solid citizens lose their en- 
thusiasm for financing the devastation of a country whose good 
faith in non-aggression has now been demonstrated. Within a 
few days, or weeks at the most, the invading soldiers them- 
selves, bored with inaction and undermined by propaganda, 
will unfailingly sicken of orders to kill and destroy and will 
lose their morale in the steady absence of opportunities to 
show courage and achieve distinction. Calls for new recruits 
bring response from few but the criminal classes, and unwill- 
ing conscripts cannot be depended upon to maintain the policy 
of ruthlessness. 

Meanwhile, such countries as remain neutral at first, not 
sufficiently idealistic to protest at the threatened invasion, will 
soon be pressed by their own business interests to demand that 
ports be reopened and commerce with our people again made 

The invading government finds prestige and finances de- 
creasing day by day, while the popular will to war, upon 
which military power depends for existence, has withered and 
died for lack of that upon which to feed. At home and abroad 
the expedition becomes the butt of ridicule. The opposition 
party, which openly or underground has long awaited the mo- 
ment of weakness, stands ready to strike for control as soon 
as the bulletins of unsuccessful terrorism have had their effect 
upon workers and taxpayers. If some face-saving pretext is 
not speedily found to bring the recall of the mutinous forces, 
the military government will go down to defeat, carrying with 
it the hollow fabric of dictatorship in that country. 

The Chances of Victory 
But can this complete and speedy victory be guaranteed? It 
cannot. Pacifists are not endowed with omniscience, merely 
with common-sense, and non-violence cannot claim immunity 
from those chances of war which have brought so many cam- 
paigns to naught. 


The outcome indicated is inescapable, however, granted the 
two points of our hypothesis: first, that the invaded popula- 
tion is united in unarmed resistance, and second, that the en- 
emy nation, though ruthless and unscrupulous under an ar- 
tificial standard of ethics, is not a community of pathological 
fools. Non-violent resistance is the only type of defense which, 
from beginning to end, yields to the enemy not even a pros- 
pect of any of the usual rewards of invasion: prestige, glory, 
indemnity, subject people, trade or military advantages, avail- 
able territory, triumph of ideals. The pleasure of wanton de- 
struction is the only satisfaction to be derived, and it is true 
that this impulse is to be reckoned with in dealing with chil- 
dren, with imbeciles, with intoxicated or desperate men. By 
no stretch of imagination, however, can the mere lust of kill- 
ing strangers motivate the sane business men of an industrial 
nation to keep on financing armies indefinitely for unprofit- 
able idleness overseas. 

All victory consists in breaking down the will to war of the 

L enemy people. Military defense tries to do this through fear, 
which frequently produces the opposite effect. Non-violent de- 
fense works through self-interest, slower to arouse but more 
reliable in the long run. 
' It will be noted that the foregoing plans take absolutely no 
account of appeals to the compassion or ethics of the enemy. 
We have done this, not from a belief in the existence of na- 
tions or human beings completely callous to such an appeal, 
but in the desire to make our hypothesis as difficult as can be 
conceived. It would be unscientific, however, to shut our eyes 
to the existence of religion, humanity, and love of justice as 
elements in individual and group psychology . . . 

Under the old system, religion and ethics in the foreign 
country could usually be harnessed through fear to the mili- 
tary machine. Unarmed defense, however, prevents all cloud- 
ing of the ethical issues, and cannot fail to enlist on the side 
of the invaded people all men of good will, wherever found. 



It will indeed be ironical if the elimination of military 
strength as a valid concept of defense should be the result of 


military developments. Yet that appears to be the prospect. 

There are very few responsible leaders today, and their 
number decreases steadily, who believe that successful mili- 
tary defense, in the event of total atomic war, is possible. It 
should be even more clear that the coming development of 
guided missiles reduces such prospects even more. Without 
trying to prove the case absolutely, for we live in a world 
where we decide our choices largely on the basis of proba- 
bilities, let it suffice to state that a rational person who at- 
tempts to support the probability of successful defense in the 
event of total atomic war is assuming a terrifying burden of 

But many other people have not yet accepted what seems so 
evident. The reasons are two. Any change with such vast re- 
percussions in thought and action can only come slowly in so- 
ciety, gradually penetrating into the consciousness of people 
as it is accepted emotionally as well as intellectually. The 
second factor in our present immobility of thought is that peo- 
ple cannot live in a vacuum and will continue to rationalize 
an old error until a positive and hopeful alternative can be 

This pamphlet therefore proceeds on the assumption that 
there is no longer any necessity among thoughtful people of 
proving that national defense of a military nature in the event 
of total atomic war is an illusion. 3 


The only real hope left to most people today is the gamble 
that the threat of terror through "massive retaliation" will pre- 
vent the coming of total war again. If our enemies know that, 
though we cannot defend ourselves, we can and will retaliate 
with weapons which they are equally powerless to resist, surely 
neither they nor we will ever start a war. So, this reasoning 
goes, an uneasy peace can be preserved by this balance of 
terror itself and we can live in the hope that changes in Com- 
munist countries will sometime reduce the tension and allow 
the building of genuine peace. 

This argument is much more logical than the belief in de- 
fense and it deserves a careful answer. . . . 

Those who defend this thesis ought to realize, however, the 
gamble that is involved and should be aware that atomic war 
may come even though neither side intends for it to happen. 

3 Herman Kahn, author of the recent On Thermonuclear War 
(Princeton University Press, 1960), speaks of possibly 40,000.000 
American deaths.— Ed. 


Rather than a sudden outburst of atomic attacks, probably the 
greater danger is that we would slide gradually into real war 
from the starting point of a "little" war. 

But now, having recognized the very real danger that a 
game of lethal bluffing may all too easily end in disaster, let 
us assume that such will not be the case, that we can avoid 
atomic war. Even on the basis of this optimistic analysis, we 
still face formidable problems. 

One of those problems, too little faced as yet, is simply the 
matter of the experimentation for the making and use of 
atomic and hydrogen weapons. . . . The most casual reader 
today can hardly avoid being aware of the statements by re- 
sponsible scientists warning that atomic experiments may ex- 
act a terrible price from the world, perhaps even from unborn 
generations through the genetic effects that may be multiplied 
in our posterity. 


Some of those who maintain that we shall probably never 
fight a total atomic war argue that "little wars"— a kind of 
limited warfare like that in Korea— will be the pattern of the 
future. If this is true, we must ask more exactly what the na- 
ture of such wars will likely be. 

If the wars of the future are to be similar to the Korean 
war, and if they can be so sharply limited, America faces a 
strategic problem of immense proportions. Conventional war- 
fare requires tremendous manpower, especially when it is 
fought on the semi-guerrilla pattern to which much of the^ 
world is so well adapted. For America to engage in other j 
such wars, especially in Asia, is to pit our limited manpower / 
against the tremendous superiority of manpower of the Com-,. ' 
munist countries. The geography of Korea limited the pos- 
sible use of large numbers of troops but no such limits would 
be imposed in most other places. 

There should be no illusion as to help from America's so- 
called allies in such contests. Very little manpower is avail- 
able to us from South America, Africa, and Asia and not 
even very much from Europe. For all practical purposes 
America will have to fight such wars alone if they are fought 
in the future. 

Further, the rapidly developing peoples of other lands are 
going to equal or nearly equal us in conventional warfare 
technology soon so that we cannot continue to count on enor- 
mous fire-power superiority. 



The logical consequence of trying to fight such wars with 
conventional weapons thousands of miles from home, handi- 
capped by the problems of logistics across vast distances, is to 
bleed the United States of its strength, to court military and 
psychological disaster, and to align ourselves with questionable 
reactionary forces in far lands in order to try to strengthen 
a desperate military position. 

It is at this point that we can most easily understand why 
military officials in the United States do not wish to fight a war 
on the plan just described and expect, instead, to use limited 
atomic weapons in such a war. The nature of those weapons 
that might be used can only be surmised but presumably 
atomic artillery shells and quite small atomic bombs would be 
included. Recent tests, however, indicate that these "small" 
atomic explosions approach the category of unlimited destruc- 
tion in the area in which the struggle occurs. 

If the enemy did not counter with similar weapons, we 
might secure military victory, though even that prospect can 
be considerably dimmed by guerrilla warfare and wide disper- 
sion of the enemy. But there seems no particular reason why 
the enemy could not, if he should choose, use such weapons 
in return. If so, we might well be at a considerable disadvan- 
tage because of the need of concentrating troops more heavily 
at some points and because of reliance on ocean transport, 
which would likely be dangerously vulnerable, especially to 
atomic-powered submarines and to atomic bombs dropped 
from planes. 

Few Americans have faced the extent of the psychological 
defeat we shall suffer in Asia if we initiate the use of any kind 
of atomic weapons. . . . 

Actually an announcement by the enemy in such an event 
proclaiming refusal to use barbaric atomic weapons on the 
grounds of humanitarian considerations could place America 
in such an extremely disadvantageous position as to make most 
improbable any support of significance from Asian and per- 
haps European sources. Further, it would produce an embar- 
rassing position in which we might find ourselves unable to 
continue the use of atomic weapons, both because of world- 
wide disapproval and also because of internal dissension in our 
own country on the matter. For we have not really considered 
the moral position we would be in if we should use atomic 
weapons only to find that a presumably immoral enemy capa- 
ble of using them refused on moral grounds to retaliate in 
like manner. — ^ 

Perhaps the greatest danger of all in this concept of limited 
warfare is the terrible risk of the enlargement of the conflict. 
The temptation to the losing side will be very strong to use 
ever more destructive weapons. For we may be reasonably 


sure that such weapons will be available even to small coun- 
tries in the future. Thus there is created the slippery slide 
down which the whole world may involuntarily go as the mo- 
mentum of angers, fears, hatreds, and suspicions plunges lead- 
ers no longer rational into the abyss. 

Underlying all of these problems is the haunting specter of 
the condemnation of our own consciences as well as the moral 
judgment of the world if we dare to begin an atomic conflict, 
even though it be limited. And, if the enemy precipitates 
atomic and hydrogen warfare, we still are faced with the ter- 
rible fact that our retaliation will surely involve us in the 
slaughter of millions of innocent people, young and old, who 
have not at all consented to the action of their government. 
The shadows of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are long across the 
soul of America. Is the destruction of the enemy in retaliation, 
knowing that our own brutality can in no way defend us, jus- 
tified by any standard of morals and principles we have valued 
and taught? If death is our lot in any case, would the meager 
satisfaction of knowing the enemy dies with us make our tor- 
ture more bearable? . . . 


To the degree that Communists become confident that 
atomic war is unlikely or impossible, we can expect them to 
devote increasing time, attention, and resources to the battle 
to influence the undecided portions of the world. There are 
two methods open to them for accomplishing this purpose. 
And they have demonstrated both willingness to use and abil- 
ity to execute these means. 

The inflammation of old sores scarcely healed over from 
the wounds of imperialism will be reopened, stirring strife 
and quarrels between factions and nations. Such intrigues slow 
the constructive work in underdeveloped countries and also 
keep the United States in the minds of millions of people as 
the successor to the imperialism they learned to hate in the 
days of white men's domination. Nor will the Communists be 
reluctant to use such opportunities to wrest from us the con- 
trol of natural resources, especially oil in the Middle East and, 
perhaps later, uranium in Africa. 

On a rather more constructive basis, the second weapon 
the Communists will use in the psychological conflict for the 
loyalty of newly independent people will be the promise of 
practical aid in the vast projects and plans to which so many 
governments now look for relief from the crushing burdens 
of poverty, illiteracy, and hunger. Russia and China have a 


considerable psychological advantage here that is seldom rec- 
ognized in America. Both of them are industrializing rather 
successfully without any considerable outside help, and the 
new countries in fierce pride want to do everything for them- 
selves they possibly can. . . . Further, both Russia and China 
are now engaged in the gigantic task of industrializing masses 
and they therefore seem much closer to the problems of Asia 
and Africa, the more so because the problems of village peo- 
ples in old cultures and overpopulated lands are so different 
from America's problems in the industrialization of a new 

But the really dangerous advantage Communism has is its 
eager alliance everywhere with the forces of revolution against 
feudalism and intrenched wealth. And the very nature of the 
struggle means that the opponents of change— the landlords, 
the large industrialists, the wealthy native rulers— turn to us 
for help and support. So, against our own traditions and, often, 
our desires, we are cast in the dangerous and unenviable 
role of defending the very forces and people we ought to be 
opposing. Our need for alliances with elements of military," 
political, and economic strength in order to oppose Commu- 
nism is such that we join hands with dictators. . . . _ I- *— ^ 

Americans find it hard to understand why our beneficence 
expressed in technical aid and distribution of surplus food is 
often so little appreciated and seems to have rather small 
effect. The answer is in what has just been said. So our mo- 
tives are deeply questioned. And even the good results— in- 
creased agricultural production and industrial development— 
too often simply result in making the wealthy wealthier. This 
accentuates the gap between the poor and the rich and be- 
comes grist for the Communist propaganda mill. 

Wise and understanding aid, given primarily through the 
United Nations to help people help themselves, coupled wi " 
far more willingness on our part to trade freely, is both es 
sential and promising. And, if it were freed of the unfortu 
nate results that flow from unholy alliances with corrupt mili 
tary and political elements, it would benefit the countries many 
times more than is the case now. Then we would be free, too, 
to act in accordance with our own traditions. . . . 


In the building of a concept and practice of defense that 
will not fall into the errors we have observed in present prac- 
tice and generally accepted theories, we need to begin by a 
survey of the resources at our command. Even as a general 



whose forces have been shattered must take stock of what is 
still available as he plans for a new campaign, so recognizing 
the bankruptcy of present military defense, we must marshall 
all the elements of strength available and must find, if pos- 
sible, new technics and resources. 

The Power of Freedom 

In spite of the painful fact that our practice of the prin- 
ciples of freedom still falls too far short of our theory, the 
measure of success we have achieved and the ideal we ac- 
cept as our guide still stand as beacon lights to our world, the 
promise of a better future. The criticisms rightly made of our 
failures are actually a testimonial to the expectations that 
others have of us. . . . 

That man is made for freedom is an article of our faith. 
While we perhaps can not prove it in scientific fashion, we 
can marshall considerable evidence that the nature of man is 
more responsive to freedom than to tyranny. And the evi- 
dence from history is irrefutable that he longs for freedom and 
will under some circumstances struggle desperately to obtain 
it. The upsurge of nationalism in much of the world today, 
even a great deal of the violence in our times, is striking 
evidence of man's thirst for liberty. 

Our own traditions and principles are in harmony with this 
fundamental drive in man's nature. Our practice has not al- 
ways been so attractive, however. But we have already ob- 
served that a prime reason for part of our failure in practice, 
especially in our relations with Asia and Africa, is the handi- 
cap and blight that the requirements of military defense pro- 
duce. If we could be free of military entanglements, we would 
indeed have a major opportunity to help vast numbers of 
people express their natural desires and tendencies to move 
toward lives of freedom rather than to submit to tyranny. 


Nothing is easier than to point out the inconsistencies and 
failures of organized religion. The truly amazing fact, though, 
is the ability through the centuries of this weak human in- 
strument, in the face of the greatest difficulties and in spite of 
human shortcomings, to produce the persistent rebirths of 
spiritual power and life that give men faith and hope, in- 
spiring loyalty and devotion, and motivating deeds of mercy 
and love. 

This is not to suggest that religious institutions are not sub- 
ject to failure and misuse, both in Communist and non-Com- 
munist countries. There is nothing magical about religious 
enterprises to insure their continuance or their success. And 
especially must we penitently recognize our present lack of 


spiritual depth and vitality, understanding that full churches 
and multiplied worship services cannot at all be equated with 
religious health and may even be a sign of sickness. 

Religion answers to a deeply felt need in man, a need that 
can never be erased by any tyranny or materialism, else 
churches would not have survived and even flourished under 
the circumstances that have obtained in some parts of the 
world. And there is growing evidence that Communist govern- 
ments, even while they still maintain many restrictions on the 
practice of religion, have been forced to recognize this ele- 
mental fact in man's nature. 

Productive Capacity and Technical Knowledge 

No one can travel through the vast areas of human need 
that characterize most of our world without being aware of 
the inescapable and indubitable necessity of providing some 
reasonable answer to man's material distress. To do this ef- 
ficiently and rapidly, and to do it in a manner that means 
respect for the cultures and contributions of the people who 
are being assisted, is to create one of the most powerful weap- 
ons that can be forged in the struggle with tyranny. 

For it is dangerously true that one of Communism's chief 
attractions is the promise it holds out, not altogether false, 
that the organizational efficiency of a dictatorship can rapidly 
industrialize a country and remold the habits and attitudes 
that presently constitute tremendous barriers to successful in- 
dustrialization. The fact that Communism has not yet found 
an answer to declining agricultural production among the 
peasants and the fact that Communism's material progress is 
at great human cost do not mean that people in Asia and 
Africa will necessarily be deterred from choosing Commu- 
nism. For they are willing to pay a very great price for in- 
dustrial development, believing, whether rightly or wrongly, 
that they can sufficiently modify Communism later on to pre- 
serve the freedom they cherish. 

Yet it should be abundantly clear that a system of more 
freedom and liberty can build a firmer foundation for ma- 
terial progress and human well-being. And there surely can be 
no doubt that we presently have in our hands the immense 
technological achievements and material resources needed to 
help under-developed countries realize their possibilities. . . . 

The Limitations of Tyranny 

One of the worst mistakes in American thought has been 
the easy assumption that totalitarian governments are as 
powerful as they claim to be. So it is common in the West to 


hear the Communist boast echoed— the assertion that dicta- 
torships can completely mold and determine the life and 
thought of the people of a country. The falsity of this claim 
should be apparent to any thoughtful person by now. It sim- 
ply is not true that now or in 1984 or ever in the future a gov- 
ernment can or will be able to dehumanize men completely, 
transforming them into automatons. 

To say this is not to minimize the very real dangers that 
dictatorship brings. Even a relatively mild attack of the disease 
can cause real damage to a country, as we should now know. 
Without doubt a dictatorship can use fear, brutality, psychol- 
ogy, propaganda, promises, threats, and bribes to achieve in 
measure some of its ends. In fact, it is because of this danger 
that we must steadfastly oppose the advance of totalitarianism 
in any form in our world. 

The error has been to believe that a dictator could have 
steady and continuing success in all his nefarious plans. There 
is no evidence to indicate that tyrants can thus become gods, 
transforming men into robots or puppets. On the contrary, 
man, made in God's image, has a point beyond which he does 
not go in accepting slavery, even though the cost of rebellion 
is life itself. 

Any law enforcement agent can verify the simple truth that 
is here involved. There is a limit beyond which no govern- 
ment, no matter what its nature, can go in enforcing laws that 
are contrary to the will of the people. 

The Power of Passive Resistance 

What has been noted above becomes explicit and politically 
significant when we consider the meaning of mass, organized 
refusal of a people to obey a government. There is no power 
that can force the obedience of masses of people to laws and 
authority they have decided to resist simply by passive resist- 

Gandhi's contribution at this point to our problem is monu- 
mental. He demonstrated that jails and concentration camps 
can never be used to imprison enough people to break such a 
program of non- violent resistance. Nor can the use of vio- 
lence and terrorism thwart the intentions of a people deter- 
mined and prepared to resist a dictator. 

There will be those who will say that India is not a fair ex- 
ample, that the circumstances were so different as to make 
Gandhi's experience not applicable to us. . . . But the differ- 
ences in this case are by no means so great as most people 


In response to those who say that India acted only from 
weakness, that she had no other choice than passive resistance, 
two observations should be made. First we approach a period 
where the utter failure of armaments, as we have heretofore 
observed, makes us so vulnerable that we are presumptuous if 
we suppose we can move from strength because of military 
power; that we are, in fact, relatively any stronger militarily 
than India was in relation to England. Secondly, the assump- 
tion that India could have won her freedom in no other way 
is wrong. Events since then should amply vindicate the thesis 
that India could have won her independence by violence (as 
Subha Chandra Bose and others in India said in opposition to 
Gandhi) even more quickly than did Indonesia. . . . 

Other critics will say that the British really yielded before 
they were forced to and that a more ruthless and less idealistic 
opponent could and would have maintained the hold upon 
India in spite of the non-violence campaign of resistance. This 
view magnifies the goodness of England beyond what the facts 
warrant and minimizes the evil in the English rule. Such peo- 
ple forget the Amritsar massacre when 1500 unarmed In- 
dians were shot down in cold blood. And a host of other brutal 
acts by the British forces should remind us that even good men 
can become cruel despots when they are caught up in a ty- 
rannical system as in Nazi Germany or British rule in India. 
Further, the goodness in the British that resulted in yielding so 
generously may be attributed in part to the validity of the 
Gandhian method, aimed as it was precisely at this point- 
winning the British consent rather than simply forcing their 

But there is a deeper issue here and that is whether Commu- 
nists from a country like Russia are so different by nature and 
training from the British that these methods would be destined 
to fail if used against them. So we must investigate what we 
can learn of the probable Communist response to such meth- 
ods of resistance. 

As to the "Russian nature," if there is such, it is not very 
profitable to speculate. There is evidence that Russians can be 
terribly brutal. And there is proof that good church people in 
America could and did display a now almost unbelievable 
brutality toward slaves and toward American Indians. Then 
there is evidence that Russians, both in historical incidents 
and in literature such as that of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky could 
be gentle, merciful, and kind— even to a fault, if such be pos- 
sible. And the same is true of Americans, as of English, and 
as of people everywhere. 

But some will say that Communist rule over a long time 
so changes men that, regardless of how they personally feel, 
they will obey any order, no matter how revolting and cruel. 


But if this is the case, how does one explain the refusal of 
seventeen Russian officers and soldiers in the East German 
revolt of 1953 to obey the orders of their superiors, a re- 
fusal that they must have known would end in court-martial 
and death, as it actually did end? It is inconceivable that the 
Russian occupation army called in to quell that non-violent 
uprising would not have been composed of the most trusted, 
best disciplined, and most thoroughly indoctrinated Commu- 
nists available. Why, then, did they pay with their lives rather 
than to obey the orders of their superiors? 

Some critics will reply that, even so, this can happen with 
only a very few and we must not generalize on such a small 
basis. After all, most of the Russians did obey. And this 
must be admitted. Generalization here is impossible. But, by 
the same logic, no generalization is possible on the other side. 
For apparently genuine and trusted Communists have refused 
to obey orders, even at the cost of their lives. 

Obviously the real question is whether there is reasonable 
prospect that such repudiation of Communism, if we used pas- 
sive resistance on a large and organized scale, could develop 
into a powerful enough movement to defeat the attempted 
tyranny. No proof can be expected on either side. Here we ar- 
rive at what may properly be termed a "calculated risk." 

Perhaps the most reasonable conclusion is that the result 
would probably depend on the extent to which the passive 
resisters were able to persist, regardless of enemy persecution, 
in maintaining a united stand in a spirit free of hatred and 
largely imbued with friendship and love. That this is the proper 
way to state the case becomes most evident when we ask 
whether a nation composed entirely of Gandhis could succeed 
in such a program. Almost every one will agree that passive 
resistance would in that case defeat the tyranny. But it is 
right to point out that no nation will ever be composed of 
Gandhis. So the real question is neither whether the enemy is 
completely devilish or whether we are completely saintly. 
Rather, it is whether a free people— ordinary free people- 
can, with proper leadership, develop, organize, and carry on 
a concerted, persistent, and effective program of passive re- 
sistance against tyranny. If there is reasonable hope that they 
can do so, we have at hand a weapon of resistance to evil 
that can replace the now antiquated, useless, and dangerous 
atomic warfare upon which we still rely for defense. 


A half century ago, William James wrote an essay, preg- 
nant with prophetic insights into the future, in which he called 
for a moral equivalent of warfare. For James recognized that 


men could never be expected to abandon warfare, however 
futile and vicious it became, until the moral equivalent of war 
could be evolved. And today we can add that our need is 
desperate for a practical equivalent of military warfare. 

We have now to investigate whether the five "positions of 
strength" we have just reviewed can be welded together to 
form a workable and promising equivalent of war, able to 
replace the military program which no longer serves its 
proper purpose. The best manner of making such an investi- 
gation is to develop an hypothesis or proposed plan for a na- 
tional defense program based on these principles. For it is in 
the attempt to make a specific, though theoretical, application 
of them that we can best determine the possible validity of 
these principles. 

This approach requires the assumption that a country would 
decide to follow the course here to be outlined. Whether any 
country, and specifically our own, would ever make such a 
decision is obviously a valid question. But it should also be 
obvious that it is properly asked after the theoretical considera- 
tions are finished, after the plan has been presented and ex- 
plained. For no one can act or vote intelligently on some- 
thing of which he is in ignorance. 

. . . Let no one suppose the answer here proposed is 
without risk. No such answers are open to us in any case. What 
we have to do is to weigh the risks and chances of success of 
the national defense plan here proposed against the prospects 
offered by any alternate plan. Precisely because there is so 
little hope in any other plan that can be offered we have a right 
to assume that our plan will not be ruled out of consideration 
just because risks are involved. 


We begin now the difficult, dangerous, and tentative work 
of putting together our building blocks for defense, our posi- 
tions of strength— The power of freedom, Religion, Productive 
capacity and technical knowledge, The limitation of tyranny, 
and The power of passive resistance— into a pattern of na- 
tional defense, a pattern that will rigidly exclude the element 
of military power we have previously seen to be the chief and 
immediate cause of our present dilemma, the block in the log 
jam that prevents us from releasing the flood tides of con- 
structive energy in our world. 

Having recognized that no immediate action of this kind is 
in prospect, we begin with our theoretical proposition at that 
time in the future when our nation would accept the necessity 


of changing its foreign policy and its program of defense. 
. . . And in order to consider this theory we must presume 
the victory (probably after initial defeats) of such a political 
force at the polls. 

The first act of such a duly elected government would be to 
issue a proclamation in accordance with the promises it would 
have made in the election campaign, stating to the whole 
world that this country recognized the bankruptcy of mili- 
tary defense. Accordingly it would ask all nations to join in 
total disarmament down to police forces. But, the proclama- 
tion would continue, this government would proceed to take 
such action unilaterally if necessary. Further, all countries, 
without any exceptions, would be urged to send official repre- 
sentatives to observe the disarmament process here in order 
that there might be no doubt as to the sincerity and the exe- 
cution of our proposal to disarm so far as our military de- 
fenses were concerned. 

The proclamation would further state, again in harmony 
with the political campaign promises made, that our govern- 
ment would immediately develop a program of passive resist- 
ance to be used if any attempt were ever made to invade us. 
This would begin with the building of a new department of 
defense in the government, charged with the responsibility for 
the research, planning, and organization necessary for im- 
plementing the decision. 

Finally, the proclamation would announce that our govern- 
ment, as rapidly as savings in manpower and resources were 
effected by the new plan, would make technical assistance and 
capital available on a very large scale to under-developed 
countries through the United Nations, the specialized agen- 
cies, and private agencies. It should be clear that such aid 
would be available to all countries without any political re- 
strictions and that it would be the responsibility of other agen- 
cies than this government to administer the aid. For the ef- 
fectiveness of capital for grants and loans and of technical 
assistance is greatly increased when it is administered through 
a third party or a multilateral arrangement. Further, the an- 
nouncement should state that projects for exchanges of stu- 
dents and visitors of many kinds would be encouraged in an 
effort to build international good-will and understanding. 

What would be the effect of this three-fold program of uni- 
lateral disarmament, the adoption of passive resistance as a 
policy of national defense, and of generosity in technical as- 
sistance, capital grants, and loans on an unprecedented scale? 
Certainly it would produce tremendous reaction throughout 
the world. For its boldness could not be ignored anywhere. 
The probable effects need to be considered in three separate 
areas: the effect on the non-Communist countries besides 


ourselves, the effect on the Communist countries, and the re- 
sults in our own country of such a policy. 


While there are more limitations than some idealists realize 
on the good that aid programs can do, nonetheless it should 
be apparent to almost everyone that one of the most power- 
ful weapons any nation can possess in winning the vast un- 
committed areas of the world to its side is the wise and ju- 
dicious use of capital and technical assistance. . . . 

To those who pessimistically reply that our aid programs 
thus far have produced little evidence of increased friendship, 
I would point out several essential facts to consider. First and 
foremost, our aid programs have been so closely tied to a 
bankrupt military policy, as I have previously observed, that 
it is quite unrealistic to judge a completely non-military aid 
program by our past and present experience. Next, we have 
insufficiently realized the very great obstacles to success in any 
bilateral aid program such as most of our present technical 
assistance aid projects are. Yet this relationship followed nec- 
essarily from the attempt to make the aid programs serve 
military aims also. In spite of these limitations, our aid pro- 
grams have made significant contributions toward helping to 
save a number of political situations in our world because the 
welfare of people has been genuinely advanced by the help we 
have given. 

The possibilities in a truly great technical assistance pro- 
gram—perhaps ten or more billion dollars a year offered to the 
United Nations to be used as grants and as a gigantic loan 
fund for development purposes, plus the offer of technical ad- 
visers, and supplemented by other programs through special- 
ized and private agencies— are almost unlimited in the results 
that could be achieved in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, parts 
of Europe, and South America. It is hopeless to expect we can 
feed and support the world and any technical assistance pro- 
gram that attempts mere charity is doomed to failure. But a 
plan aimed at releasing the vast potential human and material 
resources yet unrealized, a plan that aims at helping people to 
help themselves by providing the particular assistance without 
which the resources of these nations can not be mobilized, can 
produce almost immediate gains and the promise of vastly 
greater improvements in the future. 

To those who believe that the elimination of American mili- 
tary might would mean the overrunning of these countries by 
the Communists before and even in spite of the accomplish- 


ments we visualize, I suggest these considerations. First, a peo- 
ple who have hope and faith in their future do not provide 
the internal chaos and disorder that Communism needs in or- 
der to take over a country without paying a heavy price. Next, 
there would be no military excuse that Communists could use, 
as they did in Czechoslovakia, that we sought to use these 
countries as military allies against Communist countries. And, 
most important of all, the example we would have set of re- 
liance on passive resistance would greatly strengthen the forces 
in such countries desirous of following a Gandhian pattern. So 
the result would probably be the development of a united pro- 
gram of many nations, linked together in a passive resistance 
defense program, undergirded by a new optimism that democ- 
racy could effectively solve the problems of industrialization 
and land reform. 

Without doubt we must admit that we still run risks that 
some of these countries might be absorbed by Communism. 
But it should be sufficient to point out that no military policy 
has yet been devised to stop the onward march of Communism 
when internal conditions in a country make possible the civil 
war which Communists can use to seize power. . . . 


When we turn to the probable effect on the Communist 
countries of this passive resistance foreign policy, we see that 
it can be a kind of moral jujitsu, using the strength of the op- 
ponent to accomplish in him the desired changes. For such a 
course as we are describing is so completely contrary to Com- 
munist dogma that our action would catch the Communist 
world quite off balance. And the attempt, if it were made, to 
anticipate the results of our actions, and to counter them would 
necessarily mean giving up the rigid Communist doctrines 
about the nature of capitalism and democracy. In fact, it is dif- 
ficult to see how Communism could adjust to the revolutionary 
situation we would pose without making basic changes in its 
own structure, changes that would be in the right direction. 
^— <* The possibility of a united world Communism would surely 
be lessened by our action. Already there is considerable evi- 
dence that Communism is faced with the hard fact that na- 
'•, tionalism and the inevitable pressures within a country tend to 
, separate one Communist country from another. Not even the 
attraction of a common bond of economic and political pro- 
gram is sufficient always to overcome these nationalistic tend- 
encies, the centrifugal force perhaps ultimately fatally destruc- 
tive of any plans for united world Communism. 


With the possibility removed that the non-Communist world 
constituted a military threat, the naturally divisive forces that 
exist between Communist countries would assert themselves 
more strongly than they do at present, rivalries would tend to 
develop, and the military strength of the Communist countries, 
if retained, would tend to be divided into opposing camps. 

This same kind of effect would also surely develop within 
the ruling dictatorship of a Communist government. It is al- 
ready clear that a dictatorship is a naturally unstable political 
element. And that instability is due in considerable measure to 
the suspicions and jealousies that develop in the ruling group. 
As long as they fear an outside military power, these fears tend 
to be subordinated. But when there is no longer foreign mili- 
tary strength to fear, these internal dissensions are much more 
likely to develop. There can be little doubt that Hitler's hold 
on his people was strengthened by military opposition to Ger- 
many. For many Germans were driven, howbeit reluctantly, 
to support Hitler as the only alternative to what they believed, 
although wrongly, would be much worse— the military defeat 
of their country. 

Still another problem for the Communists would be created 
by our policy of unilateral disarmament, passive resistance, 
and technical assistance. The effect on the citizens of the Com- 
munist countries would be considerable. The news certainly 
could not be kept from the people there, though it would likely 
be misinterpreted. But in any form the information that we 
had disarmed would result in tremendous pressures for more 
consumer goods in the Communist countries. Justification of a 
military policy would be much more difficult and consequently 
the trend toward more consumer goods would be extremely 
hard to resist. And the chain of events that would follow from 
such a development surely leads more toward peace than war. 

By the same logic any imperialistic venture of a Communist 
government into a country not armed militarily would be most 
difficult to explain to the people of the Communist nations, 
even with all the power of a great propaganda machine avail- 

All these considerations indicate that our proposed policy 
would tend to create confusion in Communist ranks, to keep 
them busy with their own internal problems, and probably 
would move them gradually, or even rapidly, away from some 
of the worst evils of totalitarianism. And certainly our policy 
would relax, even remove, the fears that presently help them 
to justify their military program. For this reason we would ap- 
pear to have little to fear from an attempted Communist in- 
vasion of our (or any other) militarily disarmed country. On 
the contrary, it might well be true that the result of our policy 
would be that Communist governments in order to compete 


effectively with us in technical assistance programs and in or- 
der to deal with pressures at home, would accept our proposal 
for universal disarmament and would move, though slowly, in 
a direction that would mean more assurance of peace in our 

That such Communist cooperation in universal disarmament 
would then be possible, perhaps even probable, becomes evi- 
dent when we consider the psychological position in which fail- 
ure thus to cooperate would place the Communists. In the eyes 
of their own people and in the view of the rest of the world all 
their preceding peace talk would be proven to be hollow and 
hypocritical. The United States would become the protagonist 
of peace, the moral leader of the world. And this would lose 
for the Communist countries one of the most powerful attrac- 
tions they now have for the masses of people in Europe and 
Asia. For Russia and China to remain armed when we dis- 
armed (and probably most other non-Communist countries 
with us) would cost the Communists very heavily in the esteem 
of the world. Would they be willing to pay that price? Or might 
they rather conclude that they should join in universal disarma- 
ment in order to compete more favorably with us for the sup- 
port and loyalty of the rest of the world? 


To think and plan politically in a responsible manner does 
not allow us, however, to assume without questions, that our 
projected policy would yield such admirable results so easily. 
. . . We must therefore now deal realistically with the effect 
on our own country if it adopted and developed this policy, 
and if an attempt were to be made to take advantage of our 
disarmed state. The fact that such an invasion appears unlikely 
to develop does not at all free us from the responsibility for 
preparation to meet it. 

Also, the prospect of having to face such an aggression 
would be very much lessened by adequate preparation to deal 
with it if it were to happen. . . . 

To know what action we should take, we must first consider 
the kinds of aggression in which an enemy country might en- 
gage, keeping in mind that the answers we provide for our own 
country can reasonably be expected to apply to other countries 
that might face the same kind of assault. 

One fear that some people may have can be disposed of 
quickly. That is the possibility that an enemy would, if we re- 
fused to accept an ultimatum to yield control of our country, 
respond by bombing and destroying our undefended cities. 


Such destruction would be meaningless in view of the obvious 
fact that there would be no physical barriers to the occupation 
of the country anyway, which presumably would be the goal 
of the enemy. If we credit the invasion forces with the degree 
of intelligence assuredly necessary for a projected occupa- 
tion of another country, then it should be transparently clear to 
them that such wanton destruction would only increase the ac- 
tual problems of occupation— problems of physical rebuilding 
and of psychological victory in the occupied country. Further, 
the horrified reaction of the whole world would create a gigan- 
tic problem in foreign policy and foreign relations for the gov- 
ernment that was responsible for such an act. The obvious con- 
sequence of our policy of unilateral disarmament and generous 
aid would have been to remove utterly any idea that we were 
threatening another nation and thus the complete absence of 
any justification for the crime would mean an instantaneous 
and continued condemnation of and resentment against those 
responsible. It is scarcely conceivable that any reasonably sane 
people would thus involve themselves in such enormous prob- 
lems with so little prospect of gain from the deed. 

Far more realistic is the assumption that we would be in- 
vaded by an occupation army in much the same way that a 
militarily defeated country is occupied by a military force to 
secure control of the country. It is therefore against this kind 
of aggressive action that our policy of defense must be di- 
rected. And in order to describe this policy we need now to go 
back in point of time to the initiation and preparation of the 
policy of passive resistance that would be used in the event of 
having to meet such aggression. 

As previously suggested, the governmental decision to aban- 
don military defense would come at the same time as a policy 
of passive resistance would be publicly announced. 

Those of us who see clearly the futility of continued reliance 
on military defense must, in addition to the endeavor to win 
the consent of other people to our view, also assume two other 
responsibilities— the theoretical planning of a passive resistance 
defense policy in its general outlines, and the organizational be- 
ginnings of such a force. 

This pamphlet purports to be no more than an initial and 
modest beginning so far as theoretical planning is concerned. 
Obviously an adequate answer can only be given as a number 
of able people from different fields of training and experience 
correlate their knowledge into a unified plan. Even then it will 
necessarily evolve gradually as do all human enterprises. 


The second responsibility immediately resting upon us is the 
organization of those who share these convictions into a work- 
ing and effective group. Both the winning of the nation to this 
policy and the successful operation of the program thereafter 
requires such organizational effectiveness. In fact, we would 
have no right to ask our country to follow such a policy were 
we not able at the same time to point to a corps of able, dedi- 
cated, disciplined people operating in a proven organizational 

It is at this point that we can learn much from Gandhi's ex- 
perience in India. As many as 400,000 people were there or- 
ganized into such a group as I have described. The continuing 
effect in India today of that organization is quite considerable. 
Certainly the success of India's passive resistance movement 
could not have been achieved without such an organization. 
But Gandhi came to see that he had not built a strong enough 
group. We ought, therefore, to think in terms of a larger or- 
ganization in order that the influence on the country would be 
greater. As a rough estimate let us suggest a goal of one mil- 
lion people organized in such a group. 

The functions of this organization would be: 1) the teach- 
ing and persuasion of the American people, winning them to 
an acceptance of a passive resistance policy, 2) the applica- 
tion of these principles to our own American problems, such 
as racial discrimination, 3) the development of a specific plan 
of operation for the nation when passive resistance is adopted, 
4) the formation of a skeletal organization to serve as a pilot 
model of people willing to act as volunteers in a passive resist- 
ance defense corps, and 5) the continued purification and 
spiritual growth of the members. 


At this point we now stand ready to answer the question 
previously posed— How would we meet an occupation army? 

Our defense would rest on two principal "weapons of love" 
—civil disobedience, and the persuasive power of words and 
non-violent actions aimed at changing the minds of enough 
people in the occupation force to render it impotent in the at- 
tempt to rule our nation. 

" The civil disobedience program would have as its purpose 
preventing the occupation army from gaining effective control 
of the nation. No tyrant can rule if the great mass of the peo- 
ple refuse to obey. Prisons can not be large enough to hold 
them. Mass refusal to pay taxes can imperil the financial basis 
of the occupation army. . . . 


CThe civil disobedience program would also be expressed 
hrough strikes of various kinds— short total strikes, slow down 
strikes, and work stoppages in key places and industries to 
paralyze any attempt to rob the nation of its resources. Such a 
program can be particularly effective in a highly industrial- 
ized nation where the laborers have already learned how to 
act in concert together, using the strike as a lever to gain 
higher wages and improved working conditions. 

The effectiveness of this type of campaign depends upon a 
number of factors— the wisdom of the original plans, the prep- 
aration of the people, the quality of the leadership, and the 
persistence of the people. 

As to the original plans, these would have been made by the 
department of defense. There properly would be, as in a mili- 
tary campaign, many different plans, geared to differing cir- 
cumstances and conditions. As much as possible, difficulties 
should have been foreseen and planned for, thus mitigating 
the problems and lessening the chance of failure. 

We have already considered the preparation of the nation, 
but now we see more clearly the importance of such prepara- 
tion and the form of the educational program previously 
needed. . . . This would include provisions for a long chain 
through which leadership could be passed in the event that 
leaders were imprisoned or killed. We can learn much here 
from Gandhi's experience in India and from the underground 
resistance forces in Europe during the Nazi occupation. And 
we can have faith that such leadership will keep replenishing 
itself in a time of crisis, as it did in India and in Europe, by the 
continual accession to the cause of capable leaders who are 
inspired and challenged by the example of those imprisoned 
or killed. 

The persistence of the nation in the civil disobedience cam- 
paign would be essential. All the other points just mentioned 
would help strengthen this will to persist. But finally it must 
arise from the power and strength of the people themselves. 
And this can only be the product of a nation that is culturally 
and religiously strong. For this reason we must understand 
clearly that this is not merely a technic of defense— it is funda- 
mentally a way of life. Such a defense would go ill, for ex- 
ample, with a practice of racial segregation such as is now all 
too common in our country. 

No greater mistake could be made than to suppose that 
such a campaign as this could be carried out without loss of 
life and property. To be realistic at all, we must recognize that 
such an invading army as we have posited would have instruc- 
tions to use cruelty and even barbarity on a considerable scale 


if necessary and if it appeared to offer any hope of breaking 
the resistance. 

But before we consider this human and material cost in 
greater detail, let us remind ourselves that no kind of defense 
possible to us today can promise safety to the occupants of a 
nation, or even the hope of safety, without the acceptance of 
great risk and heavy costs. 

The real question is the calculated judgment as to which 
method of defense will cost least and be most likely to succeed 
in defending and preserving those values that we cherish more 
than life itself. 

Even so, the price tag for passive resistance still can not be 
easily dismissed. Any occupation army would certainly arrest 
the leaders of a passive resistance policy, or those leaders they 
would know about and be able to locate. It would be expected 
that government officials, industrial and labor leaders, com- 
munications officials, and religious leaders would thus be im- 
prisoned. Some attempt might be made to imprison ordinary 
people, particularly in limited areas, but this could not be car- 
ried very far simply because of the immense problem of han- 
dling masses of people who persist in refusing to obey, even 
at the point of a gun. 

Admittedly some of these hostages would be tortured and 
killed. How many, it is impossible to predict, but at the worst, 
it would not approach the loss in atomic warfare. For the 
tyrant, the chief value in such killing, as the public whipping 
in dealing with a wayward child in a schoolroom, is the ex- 
pectation that others will obey more readily thereafter. If the 
brutality does not accomplish this intended result, the danger 
of its indefinite continuance is not as great as it first appears. 

If we would deal with the irrational fears of some that this 
policy would simply mean the obliteration of the occupied na- 
tion—the merciless killing of millions— we need to consider sev- 
eral factors. First, this policy of passive resistance is not par- 
allel to what was done by those killed in Nazi Germany or in 
the kulak rebellion in Russia. For the people killed in those 
cases— and there were millions killed— were not organized at all 
in the kind of program we are considering. Rather, we should 
look at Denmark and Norway under the Nazis, and East Ger- 
many in June of 1953 under the Communists, for the nearest 
parallels (even in those countries it was a very imperfect, in- 
complete, and unorganized program) to what we are describ- 
ing. And it is remarkable in those instances how little killing 
did take place. These cases tend to show that human nature 
cannot become so depraved and mechanized that it is com- 
pletely impervious to the appeal made by passive resistance. 


And this requires much more consideration of how passive 
resistance reacts upon an aggressor. But in order to under- 
stand this power, let us start with the most normal human 
reactions to suffering. 

The first step in understanding this power of passive resist- ) 
ance is the recognition of the natural aversion of men to suf- J 
fering. All normal men dislike to witness suffering. Even the' 
mass fascination that makes men stare at the injured in an 
accident does not remove the distaste for pain, whether in our- 
selves or in others. Our attitude toward suffering animals also 
demonstrates this basic quality of our nature. The cruelty we 
sometimes show toward animals, as when we pass by an in- 
jured dog on the highway without stopping to aid is probably 
due to our subconscious wish not to have to observe the ani- 
mal's misery. And it may well be true also that the unusual 
person who seems sadistic is ultimately to be explained by the 
inner civil war that drives him to extremes in an effort to 
drown his conscience. 

The second step in the logic of passive resistance is the un- 
derstanding that our natural repugnance to suffering is accen- 
tuated when we are the cause of that pain. 

The third step grows out of the second. If the pain we have 
caused in others is the result of evil in us, if we are the aggres- 
sors, the innocence of our victim contrasts with our own 
brutality and then our need becomes desperate to have some 
psychological justification for our action. Normally that justifi- 
cation is available either in the resentment and physical resist- 
ance of the enemy or in his cowardice. Thus when our evil 
action is met by violence or cowardice, or when we know that 
our enemy waits only the opportunity to use violence, when 
we know that he hates us in proportion to the suffering he has 
incurred, we use his responses to convince ourselves he is the 
kind of person who would have harmed us if he had had an 
opportunity. Somehow his hatred of us and his use of violence 
help us to achieve some measure of self-respect even though 
we have been aggressively evil. 

The final phase in understanding the power of passive re- 
sistance is reached when the evildoer is met by forgiving, suf- 
fering love. Add this to the natural aversion to suffering, the 
horror at having been the cause of it, and the revulsion that 
comes from finding in the non-violence of the opponent no 
basis for self-justification, and the aggressor is left shaken and _ 
psychologically defenseless. To continue a physical attack 
upon one who chooses from courage to be physically defense- 
less, to be faced by firm refusal to yield to evil, yet to be met 
by steadfast love— this is simply more than human nature is 


prepared psychologically to face. No defense has yet been pre- 
pared, or can be prepared, for this kind of warfare. The man- 
hood and character hitherto submerged in the aggressor rises 
to the surface and he is bewildered and confused— puzzled by 
the unfamiliar reactions in himself and by conduct in his en- 
emy he cannot understand. Self-respect is no longer his, even 
the possibility of achieving it through his present conduct has 
been stripped from him. 

If he carries his wrongdoing to the point of causing the 
death of his innocent, physically defenseless, yet spiritually un- 
conquered opponent, he has posed for himself an unanswer- 
able psychological problem— the same problem that has never 
been successfully met by those who have caused the deaths of 
martyrs. Actually the aggressor despises himself. Almost be- 
side himself, perhaps temporarily insane, he may resolutely re- 
fuse to yield to the psychological pressure upon him. Even the 
death of Gandhi may not win the unrepentant heart of the evil- 
doer. But neither can he ever escape from the civil war that 
rages within him, the kind of inner conflict graphically por- 
trayed by Francis Thompson in Hound of Heaven. 

Part of the strength of passive resistance as a national policy 
lies in the fact that success in dealing with an aggressor nation, 
as distinguished from opposition to a single individual, does 
not require that we convert all the members of that nation. 
Victory with even a small minority greatly weakens the morale 
and power of an enemy by creating internal division in his 
ranks. The greater the excesses of brutality by some, the more 
probability there is that some of the enemy forces v/ill revolt. 

At this point we are ready to make our transition to the 
second "weapon of love" that we would use against an ag- 
gressor. Actually we have already been considering it in part 
as we have dealt with the psychological impact of passive re- 
sistance upon the evildoer. For this second weapon is 
power of all the means of persuasion at our command in 
ing the individual members of an occupation army to see 
the futility and the evil of their policy. We seek to secure 
own refusal to continue to obey unjust orders. 

That such a goal is not at all impossible should become ap- 
parent when we remember the case previously mentioned of 
the refusal of the seventeen Russian officers and soldiers in 
East Germany in the June, 1953, uprisings to obey the orders 
of their superiors. And we call to mind the thousands of cases 
of defection and desertion from Communist armies. 

Apart from all other considerations, a dictatorship would 
make one of the most daring gambles in history if it were to 
send a conscript army to a country like our own. The revela- 


tion of what life could be like, both in material abundance and 
in political freedom, coupled with the opportunity among 
friendly people to escape, would be a powerful motivation to 

When one adds to this the psychological impact made upon 
an occupation army by a policy of passive resistance, even of 
acceptance of martyrdom, the reasonable conclusion would 
seem to be that few men could withstand such pressure. 

But there is still to be added the result that would flow from 
a program— planned and organized before the invasion— of 
goodwill, friendliness, and appeals to reason and conscience 
directed by the people toward the occupation army in the in- 
evitable daily contacts. We have hardly begun to understand 
what propaganda could mean on our side in such a case. 

To those who doubt that our people could sustain such a 
policy, subduing the natural tendency to hate and fear, I would 
suggest the immense advantage we would gain by thoroughly 
instilling in the public the simple truth that the soldier of the 
occupation army, even when he acts brutally, is a human be- 
ing, made in God's image, and that his conduct is the natural, 
almost inevitable result of the environment in which he has 
lived, the training he has had, and the pressures of the dictator- 
ship upon him. In considerable measure this knowledge of the 
enemy would undergird a nation-wide therapy directed to- 
ward the invaders that would be rather like the therapy we 
now use in mental hospitals. And once a person sees himself as 
the doctor in the doctor-patient relationship, it is far easier to 
practice self-control and to follow the Golden Rule. 

At this point we can scarcely more than glimpse the possi- 
bilities. Only a few individuals have broken through the hate 
and fear barrier that causes so much mental and psychological 
illness, but those few pioneers who have done so are making it 
increasingly clear that love and goodwill can actually work 
miracles, that no man is ever totally depraved. 

What, then, would be the result of the use of these "weap- 
ons of love"? 

At the worst, it would be a long and costly struggle over a 
generation or two, hurting the economy of the country badly 
(for strikes and civil disobedience are two-edged swords and 
we should have to be prepared to suffer ourselves, even though 
we would rightly expect the civil disobedience campaign to 
cost the enemy much more heavily), and resulting perhaps in 
the liquidation of thousands of our best people. But the con- 
tinuance of a passive resistance policy offers real hope that the 
enemy would ultimately be conquered. For no tyranny is ever 
free from the immutable laws of change that operate through- 


out history, upsetting all attempts to perpetuate a static system, 
destroying the grand designs of all tyrants. 
" At the best, the policy of passive resistance, if we were to be 
invaded, would result in making a farce of the army of occu- 
pation, ruining its morale and resulting in it becoming a sym- 
bol of failure and disgrace to the world, as the members of it 
deserted and as the enemy government found the virus of civil 
disobedience and love of liberty spreading through its own 
troops, reaching the people at home and ultimately destroying 
the dictatorship there. 

" • But even at the worst, who can believe that atomic war 
would be better? 




It would be difficult if not impossible to summarize within 
a few pages readings as diverse as those presented in this vol- 
ume. However, it may be fruitful to examine, by way of con- 
cluding reflections, a few of the questions which have either 
emerged explicitly or which may be regarded as extensions of 
the symposium. Here we note briefly the ideal conception of a 
non-violent society; the relation of non-violence to democratic 
doctrines; the relevance of non-violent resistance in totalitar- 
ian situations; the uses of non-violence for war and invasion; 
and a few comments on the crisis in contemporary civilization. 

The Nature of the Ideal Non-violent Society. In a thoughtful 
pamphlet written originally near the beginning of World War 
II, the Indian scholar K. G. Mashruwala suggests that while all 
of us apprehend fairly well the meaning of violence— it is as- 
sociated, as he suggests, with "malevolence, hatred, revenge, 
enmity, murder, injury, war, cruelty, barbarity, torture, decep- 
tion, rape, loot, exploitation, and so on"— the term non-violence 
is still very much weighted with ambiguity. 1 On the whole, 
Mashruwala is right, as the readings in Part I frequently em- 

Perhaps we can grasp the meaning of non-violence more 
fully if we first sketch out the general lines of a society based 
on ideals of non-violence and then turn to the problem of how 
it can be achieved. In the process, the role and place of non- 
violent resistance may become clearer. 

The ideal of a non-violent society, while never spelled out 
very fully, would appear to imply one in which social and po- 
litical organizations are not used to manipulate men for the 
glory and gain of other men; in which the employment of phys- 
ical force is always discriminate and never deliberately injuri- 
ous—or disappears altogether; and in which conflict, assuming 

1 K. G. Mashruwala, Practical Non-Violence {And Ideology of 
Non-Violence) (Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1946), 
p. 3. 


its inevitability in the life of man, takes place without resort to 
violence and increasingly at the level of ideas. 

A non-violent society would clearly recognize the necessity 
for ample social and political freedom for the person. Simi- 
larly, it would see associations and groups as entitled to a cer- 
tain autonomy or right to self-government. "Nations" would be 
among these groups. 

But the war-making, sovereign nation-State of modern times 
could have no place within a non-violent society. And because 
so much of our life today turns on the demands of the war- 
making nation-State, its destruction would constitute a revolu- 
tion in man's thought and institutional life. One's imaginative 
powers are inadequate to describe a world without military 
bureaucracies, conscription, bemedaled generals, twenty-one 
gun salutes, budgets dominated by the call to mass violence, 
and the centralization of power engendered in considerable 
measure by the war-State. At the very least, the nature of the 
historical "State" would be radically transformed as one of 
its major functions ceased to be preparation for war. 

In a non-violent society, gross disproportions of power and 
wealth would not exist and, where they threatened, would be 
corrected by disciplined withdrawal from co-operation of dis- 
advantaged groups. This withdrawal would help restore a kind 
of balance and would make easier a restatement of the frame- 
work within which groups co-operate for the common good. 
Even were a world "State" to arise, the necessity for non-vio- 
lent resistance would not be eliminated; for "power" relations 
of some kind would still exist and with them the possibility of 
dangerous imbalances in power. 

=*- A non-violent society, too, would elaborate the machinery 
necessary for resolution of intergroup conflict and would facil- 
itate an understanding of conditions that might, if uncorrected,^^^ 
lead to violence. A hallmark of such a social order would be 
the continuous, positive effort to root out the social and psycho- 
logical bases of violence through the development of educa- 
tion, mental health services, a non-violent police system whose 
work would be primarily preventive, and conditions encourag- 
ing a measure of stability in family life. A non-violent ethic 
would have far-reaching ramifications for the treatment of 
criminals, as our readings suggest, and equally for the care of 
the mentally ill. It would not tolerate capital punishment, pris- 
ons, or treatment of mental patients that is merely custodial. 

In a non-violent society, moreover, a very high proportion of 


all persons would be acutely conscious of the fact that violence 
and tyranny arise as much out of the inner attitudes of ordinary 
men as they do from acts of the ruler. An individual without 
self-respect is much more likely to become an instrument of a 
tyrant than one who, for whatever reason, has come to value 
himself. But tyranny and violence are both the root and the 
fruit of a lack of self-respect: the very exercise of tryanny and 
violence against the person threatens to reduce him to a mere 
thing; while at the same time his tendency to live at the level of 
the vegetable so much of the time will encourage tyranny and 
1 Respect for human personality would be one of its central 
characteristics. This would be reflected in a non-authoritarian 
educational system and in social guarantees of a basic mini- 
mum of material well-being. There would also be a large meas- 
ure of political, economic, and administrative decentralization 
in order that decision-making and implementation might be as 
close as possible to those who would be expected to conform 
to the decisions. And insofar as possible, an effort would be 
made to arrive at decisions by consensus. 

Certain over-all decisions, of course— such as those involving 
allocation of resources— would have to be made centrally. 
There would necessarily be some central planning, for violence 
is as likely to arise because of too little central planning as be- 
cause of too much. 

Democracy and Non-violence. If some such vision (granted 
that it is blurred at the edges) seems to characterize the non- 
violent society, what are the means for its attainment? How 
can it be implemented at the political level? How can it be 
brought about by individual action? 

It is at this point, as many of our readings have suggested, 
that the advocate of non-violence and non-violent resistance 
seems to be speaking somewhat differently from those who 
might share his ideal of a non-violent society. That is to say, 
the democrat, for example, would probably applaud the goal 
of a non-violent community, as would the socialist; but for the 
most part, democrats and socialists will defend the use of vio- 
lence as means, under certain circumstances, even though with 
some reluctance. The exponent of non-violence and non-vio- 
lent resistance, however, maintains that some means are utterly 
excluded from consideration. War is such a means, and so is 
every other method that departs in spirit from the ends which 
are to be sought. If we search for a society in which human 


life is to be respected and enhanced, we cannot expect to ad- 
vance its cause now by institutions like war, that show little re- 
gard for human life, whatever their short-run outcomes may 
be: even though a given nation is "preserved" through war, 
the attainment of a non-violent society is always retarded. If 
we hope to achieve a social order in which gross dispropor- 
tions of power (whether economic, social, or political) do not 
exist, we cannot employ means which in themselves greatly en- 
courage thoughtless obedience and autocratic structures of 
governance. If we desire a society whose institutions and habit 
patterns are non-violent, the means used must themselves not 
press for the reverse. As the New Testament points out, one 
cannot expect to gather figs from a thistle tree. 

This organic relationship between means and ends, stressed 
by such modern writers as John Dewey, Aldous Huxley, and 
Jacques Maritain, would appear to be almost obvious. But so 
accustomed are we to responding to aggressive conduct by 
counteraggression and to violence by counterviolence that we 
lose sight of the general principle in practice. This is true not 
only when we resort to such overt violence as war and the 
threat of war but also when we employ tactics of deception, 
misrepresentation, and evasion in political discussion. The cen- 
tral value of non-violence is respect for truth, as Gandhi, 
Thoreau, Tolstoy, and many others have pointed out; and to 
the degree in which truth is esteemed lightly in our political 
conduct, overt violence lurks near. 

It is as an exemplification of truth that non-violent resistance 
is to be partly understood. The objectives of those who uti- 
lize non-violent resistance as a method are open and public; 
the opponent is notified of those objectives and of the means 
to be used for their implementation; and the connotations of 
"conspiracy" (as that term is usually understood) are absent. 
In the strategy and tactics of non-violent resistance is implied 
a strong confidence in Godwin's abstract truth as an ultimate 
victor and also a hardheaded awareness of the realities of 
power in politics and social relations. Truth itself is coercive 
but often its full impact cannot be felt without utilizing at the 
same time the kind of "power" implied when one group with- 
draws its co-operation from another or challenges in action 
the habit patterns and laws of a violent society. In the strategy 
of non-violent resistance, we have an effort to combine the 
harmlessness of the dove with the "wisdom" attributed by the 
Bible to the serpent. And this combination, precisely because 


it recognizes that discussion must take place within a context 
of power relations— albeit non-violent power relations— gives to 
non-violent resistance its great effectiveness when used in the 
right spirit and with proper organization. 

Non-violent resistance as means— all the way from public 
protest to civil disobedience— would seem, moreover, to be 
consistent with what we usually think of as "democracy." The 
spirit of democracy, surely, is utterly antagonistic to violence; 
yet it is equally hostile to acts which would stifle free develop- 
ment of personalities and groups. Non-violent resistance offers 
a means whereby both of these values can be maintained. 

Critics of non-violent resistance, like Reinhold Niebuhr, 2 
sometimes assert that the ethics and politics of non-violence 
are "utopian" in that they seek to impose a pure "love" ethic 
on a realm where at best only "justice" can be attained. But 
most of the readings in this volume are fully cognizant of the 
world of "power" and of claim versus counterclaim. All that 
the advocates of non-violent resistance as means would main- 
tain is that it is far more compatible with the achievement of 
a truly non-violent society than the means of violence; and 
that it is, moreover, also far more efficacious. As Mashruwala 
again notes, 3 the issue is not one of pure love or "benevo- 
lence" versus violence. Rather it is one "between just and 
proper selfishness on the one hand, and malevolence with 
pseudo-just or unjust selfishness on the other." And he adds 
that it is possible to be "selfish"— that is, to seek to have one's 
just claims recognized— "without violence or malevolent in- 

The advocate of non-violent resistance as means will, of 
course, fully admit that many non-violent patterns are already 
established in modern society, far removed as it may still be 
from an ideally non-violent community. Thus wherever chan- 
nels of discussion remain open; parliamentary bodies genu- 
inely deliberate; courts adjudicate under specified rules of law; 
citizens are consulted about the formation of public policy; 
the police use physical force, if at all, only in a discriminating 
and non-injurious way; and problems of social justice occupy 

2 Note particularly Moral Man and Immoral Society (New 
York: Scribner, 1932); Children of Light and Children of Dark- 
ness (New York: Scribner, 1944); Christianity and Power Politics 
(New York: Scribner, 1940); and Faith and History (New York: 
Scribner, 1949). 

3 Op. cit., p. 6. 



a central place in political discussion— wherever conditions of 
this kind obtain, fundamentals of non-violence, both as means 
and as ends, already exist. Naturally, the exponent of non- 
violence will seek to sustain and expand all such patterns. In- 
deed, characteristics of this kind may be said to be common 
to both "democracy" and non-violence. 

It is sometimes suggested, however, that if parliamentary 
and generally "democratic" procedures are available it is il- 
legitimate to resort to many forms of non-violent resistance 
and particularly to those which involve any measure of civil 
disobedience. The minority, so it may be argued, must submit 
1o~the majority and not challenge its decision. If it wishes to 
become the majority, let it hasten to go through regular po- 
litical channels and not resort to the various forms of non- 
violent "direct action." The critic points out, as we have ad- 
mitted, that the means of ordinary discussion, debate, and 
legislative activity are excellent exemplifications of "non-vio- 
lent" resolution of conflict. To critics taking this position, the 
utilization of non-violent power in the form of non-violent re- 
sistance is somehow a species of "violence" in that it violates 
the presumed canons of democracy. When submarines are 
boarded by direct action groups, as in Reading 21, or restau- 
rants embarrassed by Sit-ins, as in Reading 20, it may be 
maintained that other means of non-violent action have not 
been utilized and that such actions violate the principle that 
minorities should submit to the majority will until the latter 
can be changed. 

Aside from the fact, however, that democratic procedures 
may not have been fully available (thus, Negroes were ex- 
cluded from the vote and from full participation in forming 
the "majority" will),, such an objection ignores the notion 
that no majority decision, any more than a decree issued by 
a dictator, can be absolutely binding in a moral sense, what- 
ever status it may possess politically and legally. No majority 
can be assumed to be "right" in all its decisions and will 
sometimes violate what appear to be legitimate aspirations or 
"rights" of particular groups. Under such circumstances, the 
group involved— or its leaders— will have to decide whether 
the violation is an attack on its basic claim to existence under 
minimum conditions or merely an undermining of secondary 
or non-essential claims. In the former instance, the group may 
wish to consider offering some form of non-violent resistance 
in order to preserve its basic integrity as a group. But if the 


violation is of secondary claims only, it may decide that 
greater harm to the society as a whole would result from re- 
sistance than would ensue from obedience. As conceived here, 
in other words, majority rule is only one value of a democratic 
society; and sometimes it may appear to be in conflict with 
other equally precious values. Whether non-violent resistance 
can be justified in any given instance depends in part, of 
course, on the particular circumstances involved; but it can- 
not be ruled out in all conditions and, indeed, must be seen 
as a possible positive contribution to democratic means and 

Under actual circumstances, of course, there has never been 
a society in which democratic ideals have even been ap- 
proached in most respects. Electorates are sluggish, informa- 
tion is withheld, income distribution is almost always highly 
distorted in favor of the upper 10 per cent of the population, 
and military-industrial complexes have an enormous advan- 
tage over ordinary citizens in manipulating opinion-making 
agencies. Under conditions of this kind, non-violent resistance 
—whether in its mild form of peaceful public protest or in its 
extreme form of disciplined and deliberate civil disobedience- 
can perform an indispensable role in arousing opinion, re- 
pressing distorted power balances, and re-establishing active 
\consent as the basis for governance. The openness, appeal to 
truth, willingness to undergo voluntary suffering, and non- 
retaliatory ethic characteristic of the theory and practice of 
non-violence constitute built-in limitations on any tendency to 
use the means for autocratic or tyrannical ends. When thou- 
sands of Quakers, Baptists, and other sectarians suffered in 
seventeenth-century English jails for their convictions about 
religious toleration and just legal procedure they exemplified 
the spirit and possibilities of non-violent resistance. And a 
A--^_jsimilar observation might be made, for example, about the 
thousands of Roman Catholics who, in Communist Poland, 
have dared to continue their religious practices in the face of 
anti-Catholic State dogma and often persecution: they have 
done much to force a liberalization of the political regime, 
when resort to violence could have resulted in even greater 

Non-violence and the Rise of Totalitarianism. As has been 
suggested at many points in this volume, a central political 
question arising out of readings such as those presented is 
the relevance today of non-violence and non-violent resistance 



for the growth and possible overthrow of totalitarian systems. 

This general issue, in turn, gives rise to two specific queries. 
First, can the principles of non-violence help prevent the rise 
of totalitarianism? Secondly, assuming that totalitarianism has 
already been established, can it be undermined by non-violent 
techniques of various kinds? Adequate answers to questions of 
this kind cannot be given within the space of a few paragraphs 
but we might attempt here to summarize what the readings 
and the political history of the twentieth century suggest. 

Let us use the rise of National Socialism in Germany as the 
basis for answering both questions. Many factors were re- 
sponsible for its development: the stock-market crash of 1929 
and the subsequent world-wide depression; dissatisfaction with 
the Peace of 1919; effects of the great postwar inflation; au- 
thoritarian traditions within German culture; failure of the 
Allies to carry out their disarmament pledges; bureaucratiza- 
tion of the labor and socialist movements; Hitler's under- 
standing of "mass" culture; and others. But two over-all though 
interrelated phenomena appear to have been decisive: first, 
the worsening of economic conditions after 1929, with the 
atmosphere of hopelessness which this engendered; and sec- 
ond, the collapse of the will to resist within Germany itself. 

National Socialism made very little headway politically un- 
til the effects of the stock-market crash began to make them- 
selves felt in the German economy after 1930. Only after the 
early part of 1932 did the accession of Hitler to power appear, 
in some sense, to be "inevitable." Had world statesmen, in- 
cluding, above all, American leaders, possessed enough under- 
standing to prevent the long economic slump or even to 
shorten its duration, it is very doubtful whether Hitler's ap- 
peal to the German people would have had much effect. As 
gross economic difficulties continued, however, he found his 
support growing; and this enhanced popularity was abetted by 
the "authoritarian" tradition in German political culture. Des- 
perate men turn to desperate remedies, particularly where 
there is no firmly embedded heritage of constitutional govern- 

But only the dark economic picture of 1929 to 1933 could 
have provided the opening. In considerable measure, the non- 
German world was responsible for Hitler's increase in popu- 
larity and for the near fanaticism with which he was sup- 
ported by many. By non-violent actions involving economic 
reform the world outside Germany might have averted the 


conditions that made Hitler's appeals decisive. But such 
changes would have required an alteration in basic outlook 
on the part of Americans and others— a greater willingness to 
experiment with "planned" forms of economic order, an ac- 
centuated sensitivity to the interdependence of mankind, and 
an understanding of the necessity for positive action to pre- 
vent the development of authoritarian schemes, instead, 
Americans, together with the British and French, tended to 
hold that National Socialism was a conspiracy of wicked men 
for which outsiders bore no major responsibility. 

After the rise of National Socialism, Western thought usu- 
ally tended to think in terms of violent solutions rather than 
of non-violent devices. Thus, the Western nations could have 
offered asylum to all the Jews of Germany and Eastern Eu- 
rope before 1939 and even after the opening of the war. But 
they were unwilling and unprepared to accept more than rela- 
tively small numbers. 

Insofar, therefore, as National Socialism was the result of 
acts of omission by other nations, its rise might have been 
averted by many forms of non-violent, non-military policy. In 
fact, it is difficult to see how violence could have helped at 

But we cannot in justice condemn merely the non-German 
world. There was, no doubt, a decline in the will to resist on 
the part of millions of Germans. Tens of thousands who could 
not support Hitler lacked the will and the organization to re- 
sist him. The studies of Bruno Bettelheim have shown to what 
a small degree this will to resist existed even within concen- 
tration camps. 4 Explanations of this rather startling phenom- 
enon will, of course, vary. But we cannot doubt the fact it- 
self. By contrast, a largely non-violent strike shortly after 
World War I (see Reading 12) had prevented a military take- 

It seems probable that, given proper leadership and specific 
training in non-violent resistance, the rise of Hitler could have 
been prevented. But the masses of organized Social Democ- 
racy and the trade unions seemed paralyzed for action: for 
some reason, they hesitated to use the weapon which they had 
successfully employed against Wolfgang Kapp and his soldiers. 
The labor movement as a whole was imprisoned by narrow 

4 See, on the general problem of autonomy in human personality, 
Bruno Bettelheim, The Informed Heart: Autonomy in a Mass Age 
(New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1960). 


conceptions of propriety and legality: it apparently did not 
see how the law was being manipulated for the ends of au- 
tocracy and hence hesitated to turn to such techniques as non- 
violent political strikes and civil disobedience. Much of it 
continued to oppose Hitler, to be sure, through formal parlia- 
mentary channels; but it appeared not to understand that 
this was not enough. 

There tended to be an erosion of the will to resist in what 
seemed to be little things; and this, of course, made it still 
easier to acquiesce when the Hitlerian dictatorship did appear. 
Again and again, Germans accepted what they thought were 
slight inroads into their liberties— as in the use of the emer- 
gency powers of the Weimar Constitution— and did not see 
that submission in small things would facilitate acceptance of 
larger encroachments. Because the will to resist did not de- 
velop in relatively small matters before 1933, it became in- 
creasingly difficult to encourage it— with many exceptions, of 
course— when National Socialist acts began to destroy repub- 
licanism after 1933. 

Often where the will to resist did seem to exist, it took a 
military or violent form. Thus there was a paramilitary "re- 
publican" protective group to counteract the pre-1933 mili- 
tary organization of the Nazis. But military means were inap- 
propriate to defend the ideals which Social Democrats and 
other republicans ostensibly espoused: the Nazis could always 
best them at such methods. Only non-violent resistance in some 
form could have been an appropriate weapon for the op- 
ponents of National Socialism. With it and the will to use it, 
the Hitlerians would not have gained office. Without it, So- 
cial Democratic and other anti-Nazi resistance did not have 
an effective outlet. 

Once the National Socialists attained power, the oppor- 
tunity to resist non-violently progressively declined, with the 
adoption of sharp restrictions on freedom of association and 
other similar measures. Hence the answer to our second ques- 
tion—Could non-violent resistance have defeated the Nazi re- 
gime once it attained power?— must be a highly qualified one. 
No method and no technique of social conflict can perform 
miracles. After 1933, political repression made it increas- 
ingly unlikely that men could get together for effective non- 
violent resistance. To be sure, opportunity is never completely 
eliminated, as was shown by the underground movements 
which did develop in Germany. But without a philosophy and 


practical experience of non-violence to guide it, the under- 
ground was relatively ineffective politically. 5 Even so, it is 
heartening and surprising that it existed at all, considering the 
rigorous suppression of the State. 

But our readings have suggested that even under "totali- 
tarian" conditions and with little previous discipline in non- 
violence, non-violent resistance can make a serious impres- 
sion on totalitarian rulers. Thus the Norwegian resistance, 
although never complete and certainly not animated by an ex- 
press doctrine of non-violence, helped make Nazi rule in 
Norway very difficult. And the spontaneous, largely non- 
violent strike at Vorkuta, while it achieved only minor con- 
cessions, demonstrated the potentialities of non-violence even 
under adverse conditions. Both Norway and Vorkuta, more- 
over, underscore the observation stressed throughout this vol- 
ume that we cannot expect to undermine totalitarian patterns 
overnight, particularly when we are largely unversed in the 
theory and practice of non-violent power. Even so, there were 
instances of Russian soldiers refusing to fire at unarmed dem- 
onstrators during the great wave of "direct action" protests in 
Eastern Europe in 1953. 

When considering the relevance of non-violent resistance to 
totalitarian situations, we should never forget that the In- 
dian and South African struggles were and have been carried 
on under conditions not highly favorable to the resisters. Al- 
though the British Government in India was not, it is true, "to- 
talitarian," it is an understatement to say that it was not 
always benevolent. Its officers carried out massacres of un- 
armed men, women, and children, as at Amritsar (1919); 
its regulations provided for imprisonment without trial; its 
backing in British opinion was for many years very strong 
(although the support admittedly declined later on); and its 
military might sought to overawe an impoverished and un- 
armed populace. Despite all this, non-violent resistance de- 
veloped and was a very important factor in the ultimate de- 
struction of British rule. 

In South Africa, the non-benevolence of the government 
and of "white" opinion has been even more apparent; and 
although non-violent resistance is still in its beginning stages, 

5 For some aspects of the German underground, see J. James 
Donohoe, Hitler's Conservative Opponents in Bavaria (Leiden: 
E. J. Brill, 1961) and Franz Schneider, "The Silent Revolt," Amer- 
ica, September 6, 1958. 


there is some evidence that if it continues to develop under 
adequate leadership it, too, will play a vital role in changing 
power relationships. Readings 5 and 19 told us something of 
the problems which resisters in South Africa faced and con- 
tinue to confront; and despite the growing repression of the 
South African Government, 6 there is reason to believe that 
the self-consciousness and understanding of Native and Col- 
ored populations are also growing. It is almost certain that 
resort to violence by Native and Colored people would set 
back the cause of equality immensely; for it would tend to 
eliminate potential divisions and self-doubts within the South 
African ruling classes and help them rationalize an even more 
extreme use of government violence. 

But what, it may be asked, of Hungary— the bloody sup- 
pression of the Hungarian revolt of 1956 by Soviet troops? 
It is astonishing, in some respects, that this question arises so 
frequently in connection with discussions of non-violent re- 
sistance. First of all, the Hungarians were never committed 
to non-violence, had little training in its disciplines, and fairly 
early began to resort to violence themselves. Secondly, inso- 
far as they did employ essentially non-violent methods— be- 
fore and in the early part of the revolt— they appeared to be 
far more successful than in their resort to violence. 7 To be 
sure, the repression was a brutal affair and obviously no ad- 
vocate of non-violence could or would defend it. But neither 
would he support the Hungarians' turning to violence: in so 
doing, he would contend, they made both a moral and a po- 
litical error, understandable though it might be in the given 
circumstances. Had the Hungarians utilized non-violent re- 
sistance only, there would still have been no guarantee of 
their immediate success; as we have repeatedly pointed out, 
all forms of conflict are hazardous. 

Our conclusion about the relevance of non-violence and 
non-violent resistance to totalitarian situations must be that 
while there is no open sesame and no one formula to which 
one can turn, non-violence explicitly embraced and informed 

6 One of the latest instruments of repression is a rule forbidding 
newspapers even to quote from speeches and writings of certain se- 
lected (and presumably dangerous) persons. Among those on the 
list is Albert Luthuli (see Reading 19). 

7 For a detailed report on the genesis and development of the 
Hungarian revolt, the reader should consult the United Nations Re- 
port published in 1957. 


by knowledge can indeed play an important role in the pre- 
vention of tyranny. And while prevention is always better 
than cure, it would seem that non-violent resistance can also, 
under certain circumstances, help speed the internal disintegra- 
tion to which all tyrannies are subject. 

But we should also reiterate, as we have throughout this 
volume, that the effective use of non-violent resistance depends 
not only on adequate training and commitment, but also on 
the "objective" situation: external conditions must be ripe for 
effective campaigns, and if they are not, it is the part both of 
wisdom and of morality not to resort to non-violent resistance. 
Campaigns in the face of unsuitable objective conditions might 
actually set back the achievement of justice. Commitment to 
non-violence does not mean that we can dispense with political 
wisdom. Indeed, it accentuates the need for those practical 
insights which we associate with the office of politician at its 

Non-violence, War, and Invasion. What light do the read- 
ings cast on the problem of war prevention and resistance of 
invasion? Actually, most of the observations made in connec- 
tion with the rise of totalitarianism are applicable. In the end, 
as readings in Part I suggested, a nation is subdued by an 
external invader only with its own consent. If, through lack 
of proper organization beforehand, absence of training in non- 
violent disciplines, and a low-level will to resist, it succumbs, 
its loss of autonomy is in great degree self-inflicted. The ar- 
guments of Godwin, Gandhi, Gregg, and Case and the ex- 
periences of Norwegian, Hungarian, Indian, and certain gen- 
eral strike resistances are impressive on this point. The fact 
that no major nation has yet tried the way of non-violence 
means, of course, that we have no direct experience upon 
which we can rely. But if it were tried, within a context like 
that outlined in Reading 22, the indirect experience we have 
already had would seem to point to a success at least as great 
as that of military violence— and without the latter's enormous 
toll in physical, social, psychical, and moral damage. 

At any rate, it is difficult to see how anyone with a concern 
for morality can possibly defend modern war and policies 
based on its threat. From the viewpoint of the morality of the 
means— and accepting the fact that there are important dis- 
tinctions between their economic and political systems— there 
would seem to be little difference between Communism and 
Western Democracy in practice: both of them resort to threats 


of mass annihilation and both seem to be willing to shatter 
the whole structure of civilized society in the name of some 
abstraction which neither can define with precision. Each 
claims it is "defending" itself when it resorts to the most 
horrible preparations for mass slaughter. How any civilized 
human being can support either side, in view of these con- 
siderations, is difficult to understand. If the world does some- 
how survive, men in a future generation will look back to our 
time with both amazement and loathing: amazement that so 
many millions, East and West, tamely submitted themselves to 
be slaughtered and to slaughter; loathing at the rank hypocrisy 
involved in the whole process, with each side proclaiming its 
devotion to the highest civilized values. Just as we inquire to- 
day how millions of Germans could have submitted their fates 
to the commands of an immoral dictatorship, so will our de- 
scendants ask how millions of human beings professing "Chris- 
tian" moral ideals could with scarcely a murmur build up 
stock piles of bacteria, H-bombs, and missiles to kill their 
fellow men and women. 

A frequent answer is that while war would indeed be de- 
structive, the possession of military might deters others from 
making war or invading "free" territory. This is doubtful, 
however; for despite existence of military alliances, Commu- 
nist systems continue to expand, notably in Asia. But even if 
we grant that military power has provided a limited deterrence 
in the past, can we continue an arms race indefinitely without 
. bringing world war measurably closer? Many students of the 
problem have persuasively maintained that the more the arms 
race (with its emotional context) is accelerated, the greater 
is the probability that "deterrence" of war will be utterly 
frustrated. Our descendants, if any, will ask how we could 
have been so completely foolish as well as immoral. 

Descendants would quite legitimately put many queries of 
this kind. But the reply today is usually another question: 
What else can we do? It is at this point that the advocate 
of non-violent power has most to say. For he is asserting, 
essentially, that the development of an organized movement 
against both war and invasion, together with widespread com- 
mitment to completely unarmed defense, would be most likely 
to accomplish such widely proclaimed objectives as the frus- 
tration of invasion and defense of basic freedoms. 

Before turning to the implications of non-violence for war 
and invasion, it might be well to point out that the fear of in- 


vasion is in some measure a groundless one, particularly inso- 
far as it refers to the possibility of the Soviet Union or China 
occupying the United States or the United States invading the 
Soviet Union or China. For the Soviet Union to "control" the 
vast territory of the United States would be a very difficult 
task, even without military or formally organized non-violent 
resistance. The center of control would be remote from those 
foT^e controlled. Even today the Soviet Union has difficulties 
with its Eastern European satellites who are relatively close to 
it and who, moreover, resemble it in many ways. Any at- 
tempted invasion of the United States with the purpose of 
control would magnify these difficulties enormously. As Am- 
bassador Kennan puts it, Americans seem not to recognize 
how hard it is to operate "far-flung lines of power" or to see 
that there are definite "limits to the effective radius of political 
power from any center in the world." 8 

Despite this undoubted fact, however, the advocate of non- 
violence must deal with the possibility of invasion, since it 
conceivably could occur. He must, moreover, suggest what a 
thoroughgoing policy of unilateral disarmament might imply 
for domestic and international policy in general. 
— ^ A turn toward non-violence by any major nation would, as 
/ several of the readings and introductory notes stress, necessi- 
\ tate a fundamental change in outlook, not only with respect 
\ to defense, but also in reference to the economic and inter- 
\ national orders. Unilateral disarmament, to be effective in any 
\ sense, would entail such measures as the deliberate construc- 
\ tion of a system of non-violent resistance, with as much en- 
\ ergy devoted to it as we devote today, for example, to space 
'exploration; a considerable measure of public economic plan- 
ning to make far better use of human and material resources 
than we do today; surrender of nationally administered inter- 
national services (like the Panama Canal) to international ad- 
ministration; full acceptance of the rule of law in international 
affairs, including jurisdiction and possible extension of juris- 
diction of the International Court of Justice; and commit- 
njent of a very substantial proportion of the national income 
(possibly 10 per cent or more— and in addition to sums now 
tilized) for an indefinite period to the economic, social, and 


8 See George F. Kennan, Russia and the West under Lenin and 
Stalin (Boston: Little, 1961). A similar thesis is suggested in his 
earlier work, Russia, the Atom, and the West (New York: Harper, 


educational development of the world, not excluding the 
United States. Within a context of this kind, we could far 
better defend the freedom of Americans than through the 
threat of military violence— no matter what the character of 
the "other side." We could revolutionize the whole pattern of 
international politics and help transform the power struggle 
into a non-violent one. This would happen because the "other 
side" would feel compelled to respond in kind— both because 
of internal pressures and because it would find that its own 
interests could best be preserved by such measures. Non-vio- 
lent acts on a large scale could be expected to provoke "re- 
taliation" of a non-violent character, just as violent measures 
call forth violent responses. 

Nor is this expectation Utopian. What does seem to be "Uto- 
pian" (in the unfavorable sense of that term) is our present 
expectation that we can somehow get peace through arms 
build-ups; that wholesale preparations to kill will, as if by 
magic, be transmuted into world order; that indefinite re- 
liance on military violence can be combined with preserva- 
tion of "the American way of life"; and that we can expect 
to promote conciliation through such measures as threats to 
destroy enemy cities, refusal to recognize diplomatically the 
government of a fifth of mankind, and research into better 
and more efficient ways of killing. Expectations of this kind 
run counter both to common sense and to the insights of most 
ethical systems. 

If we reject as immoral and impractical policies based on 
violent intimidation, what other alternative do we have save 
the doctrine and practice of non-violence? Between the gross 
immorality of threatening to incinerate millions of men, 
women, and children, on the one hand, and the injustice of 
tame acquiescence in possible tyranny, on the other, there is 
the way of non-violent resistance. Undeveloped as it is— 
whether in theory or in experience— it would seem to offer 
the only means for helping to redress wrong and to preserve 
the legitimate autonomy both of individuals and of groups (in- 
cluding national groups). Cognizant of the dilemmas of mo- 
rality involved in such issues as resistance to invasion, it never- 
theless accepts fully the inevitability of power and power 
relations. But it argues that, particularly under modern condi- 
tions, the most effective form of power is non-violent power. 

Yet the full development of a doctrine and practice of non- 
violent power depends on the willingness of groups to experi- 


ment with it, even short of a fully worked-out set of prin- 
ciples. Herein lies one element of significance in such move- 
ments as the Sit-ins and "Freedom Rides" and in forms of 
non-violent direct action like those exemplified in the Polaris 
protests (Reading 21). Whether successful or not, experi- 
ments of this kind can prove enormously valuable as we 
grope for the basis upon which to build non-violent resistance 
to invasion. 

rWe should never forget, of course, that a policy of non- 
violent resistance to invasion would entail a price. Not only 
would there have to be rigorous training and discipline be- 
forehand but there would and could be no guarantee of suc- 
cess or of immunity from suffering. At a minimum, the scheme 
would involve: a table of alternative leadership, so that leaders 
hanged or imprisoned would automatically be succeeded by 
their understudies; thousands of hard-core Satyagrahis who 
would be in the forefront of non-co-operation and civil dis- 
obedience campaigns; thorough preparation for psychologi- 
cal resistance, so that the general population would respect 
the persons of the invaders while refusing, in concert, to co- 
operate with their acts; and careful planning for food sup- 
plies. Unarmed resistance, as a matter of fact, requires at 
least as much planning as military defense. 

Whatever the practical advantages of non-violent over vio- 
lent opposition— and the readings, particularly in Part I, have 
suggested many— the moral superiority of non-violence con- 
sists in the fact that while under it we might have to suffer 
injustice (disruption of ordinary ways of life, physical injury, 
torture, or even death), we do not commit it (we do not de- 
liberately kill, we confine coercion to that which does not 
seriously injure, and we constantly seek avenues for nego- 
tiation). And in the last analysis the advocate of non-violent 
resistance believes, with Socrates, that it is always better to 
suffer injustice than to commit it. 

The critic may sometimes concede the practical and moral 
advantages of non-violent resistance to invasion but then as- 
sert that "Americans would never accept it." Apparently there 
is something about the American psychological and cultural 
make-up which insists on violence. Unlike such Indian groups 
as the Pathans, who though reared in a military tradition be- 
came some of Gandhi's most trustworthy Satyagrahis. Ameri- 
cans are seemingly wedded forever to violent methods of con- 


flict. Or so this version of the American character would have 
us believe. 

But there is reason to doubt this interpretation. To be sure, 
American history has been a violent one in many respects, 
with its Indian battles, its Civil War, and the covert and overt 
violence of its industrial life. Yet there is another side. Volun- 
tary associations have played an enormous role in the Ameri- 
can scene and they certainly exemplify non-violent conduct 
at its best. Americans share the religious tradition of the West 
which, whatever its practice, has within it a very strong ethic_ 
of non-violence. Moreover, studies of the American soldier in 
World War II reveal the startling fact that on two out of every 
three occasions when he should have pulled the trigger against 
the enemy, he was unable to do so. The explanation, accord- 
ing to General S. L. A. Marshall, a leading student of the 
problem, is that the soldier's home training against violence 
controlled his wartime actions— despite his army disciplines^-/ 
Medical Corps psychiatrists, moreover, found that fear of 
killing, rather than fear of being killed was the leading cause 
of battle failure. 9 

Utilization of non-violent resistance would eliminate this 
split in the American character and would enable Americans 
to oppose invaders without the subconscious doubts and anx- 
ieties that afflicted them in World War II. They would be in- 
tegrated around the pole of non-violence. Like the Americans 
who engage in Sit-ins and "Freedom Rides" for racial justice, 
they would find that non-violent resistance is not only moreO 
practical but that it also leads to a new sense of self-respect \ 
and self-confidence. If thousands of Americans can be at- 
tracted to non-violent direct action in the cause of race equal- 
ity, what reason is there to suppose that they cannot become 
equally devoted to unarmed defense against invasion? , . ^ 

The Crisis in Civilization. It has often been asserted that 
there is a severe crisis in modern civilization. The nature of 
the crisis is variously described. Many profess to see it pri- 
marily in the struggle between East and West. Some talk as if 
it centered in the conflict between the imperatives of tech- 
nology and the means of controlling it for desirable ends. Yet 
others speak of the spontaneous life of society and the natural 

9 For a general's discussion of combat soldiers' failure to shoot 
in World War II, see S. L. A. Marshall, Men Against Fire (New 
York: Morrow, 1947). 


community as against the planned, bureaucratizcd, and ra- 
tionalized political segment. 

Without denying a certain validity in each of these diag- 
noses, it would seem appropriate here to suggest in conclu- 
sion that the major crisis may have to do with the question of 
whether civilization, which produced the ideals of non-vio- 
lence, can in fact discard the means of violence before those 
means destroy it. Will the methods of large-scale violence, 
also the product of civilized ingenuity, tend so completely to 
dominate— indeed, fascinate— their creators that the ideals of 
non-violence, enshrined in both religious and secular thought, 
will be largely forgotten? 

It is not certain that civilization will not use its violent in- 
struments to destroy its non-violent achievements and frus- 
trate its aspirations. In the name of protecting the values of 
non-violent ends, elaborate and sensitive social organization 
and technology may be employed to defeat those ends through 
the use of violence as means. If this is not to be the outcome 
of our contemporary madness, it will be because men dis- 
cover in time that they can neither attain nor defend the ends 
of non-violence and democracy by the methods of violent 
power: any apparent success is more than counterbalanced 
by the evil ends set up by the means. 

Once they make this discovery, human beings will turn to 
the doctrine of non-violence and to the discipline and prac- 
tice of non-violent resistance. Without regarding non-violent 
resistance as the only key to an ideal society, they will see in 
it, nevertheless, a form of power somewhat compatible with 
the goals they profess. 10 Their means will have been brought 
measurably into harmony with their ends; and they will find 
that in repudiating the immorality of killing they will also have 
discovered a far more useful method than violence for the 
attainment of justice. 

10 The ramifications and implications of power, both violent and 
non-violent, are complex and far-reaching. See, for example, Ber- 
trand Russell, Power: A New Social Analysis (New York: Nor- 
ton, 1938), . . . and Bertrand de Jouvenel, Power-The Natural 
History of Its Growth (London: Hutchinson, 1948) and Sover- 
eignty; An Inquiry into the Political Good (University of Chicago 
Press, 1957). 


Excluded are books and articles from which readings have 
been taken or to which reference is made in footnotes or else- 
where. The list is suggestive, not exhaustive. 


Allen, Devere (editor). Pacifism in the Modern World. New 
York: Harper, 1929. 

. The Fight for Peace. New York: Macmillan, 1930. 

Andrews, C. F. Mahatma Gandhis Ideas. New York: Mac- 
millan, 1930. 

Burns, C. Delisle. The Principles of Revolution: A Study in 
Ideals. Oxford University Press, 1920. 

Diwakar, R. R. Satyagraha: The Power of Truth. Chicago: 
Regnery, 1948. 

Frank, Jerome D. "Breaking the Thought Barrier: Psycho- 
logical Challenges of the Nuclear Age," Psychiatry, Vol. 
23, No. 3, August 1960. 

Gandhi, Mohandas K. Autobiography: The Story of My Ex- 
periments with Truth. Washington: Public Affairs Press, 
1948 and 1954. 

Huxley, Aldous. Ends and Means: An Inquiry into the Nature 
of Ideals and into the Methods Employed for their Reali- 
zation. New York: Harper, 1937. 

Lanz, H. "The Doctrine of Nonresistance and Its Antithe- 
sis," International Journal of Ethics, Vol. 37, 1926, pp. 

Lewis, John. The Case against Pacifism. New York: Norton, 

Muste, A. J. Non-Violence in an Aggressive World. New 
York: Harper, 1940. 

Paullin, Theodore. Introduction to Non-Violence. Ithaca, New 
York: Pacifist Research Bureau, 1944. 


Ramsey, Paul. War and the Christian Conscience. Duke Uni- 
versity Press, 1961. 

Sharp, Gene. "The Meanings of Non- Violence : A Typology," 
Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. Ill, March 1959. 

Sibley, Mulford Q. The Political Theories of Modern Pacifism. 
Ithaca, New York: Pacifist Research Bureau, 1944. 

Sorokin, Pitirim A. The Ways and Power of Love. Boston: 
Beacon Press, 1954. 

Tolstoy, Leo. The Law of Love and the Law of Violence, 
tr. by Mary Tolstoy. New York: Rudolph Field, 1948. 


American Friends Service Committee. Speak Truth to Power. 
Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1954. 

Andrews, Charles F. (editor) . Mahatma Gandhi at Work. 
New York: Macmillan, 1931. 

Backlund, Sven. "The General Strike in Sweden in 1909," 
Labour Magazine, August 1926. 

Brandt, Richard. Hopi Ethics, A Theoretical Analysis. Uni- 
versity of Chicago Press, 1954. 

Brant, Stefan. The East German Rising, 1 7th June 1953, tr. 
by Charles Wheeler. London: Thames & Hudson, 1955. 

Byrd, Robert O. Quaker Ways in Foreign Policy. University 
of Toronto Press, 1960. 

Cook, Fred J. The Warfare State. New York: Macmillan, 

Destree, Jules. "La greve generate en Belgique," Revue So- 
cialiste, June 1913. 

Eliot, Thomas D. "A Criminological Approach to the Social 
Control of International Aggressions," American Journal of 
Sociology, Vol. LVIII, March 1953. 

Fernsworth, Lawrence A. Spain's Struggle for Freedom. Bos- 
ton: Beacon Press, 1957. 

Freeman, Ruth. Quakers and Peace. Ithaca, New York: Paci- 
fist Research Bureau, 1947. 

Gibney, Frank. The Frozen Revolution: Poland. New York: 
Farrar, Straus, 1959. 

Hiller, Ernest T. The Strike: A Study in Collective Action. 
University of Chicago Press, 1928. 

Houser, George M. Nonviolent Revolution in South Africa. 
New York: Fellowship Publications, 1953. 

King, Martin Luther. Stride toward Freedom: The Mont- 
gomery Story. New York: Harper, 1958. 


Lapp, Ralph E. Kill and Overkill: The Strategy of Annihila- 
tion. New York: Basic Books, 1962. 

Lewin, Jules. "The Rise of Congress in South Africa," Politi- 
cal Quarterly, July 1953. 

Nott, Katherine. "Danili Dolci: Nonviolence in Italy," Com- 
mentary, February 1961. 

Outze, B0rge (editor). Denmark during the German Occupa- 
tion. Copenhagen: Scandinavian Publishing Company, 

Riesman, David. "Some Observations on the Limits of Totali- 
tarian Power," Individualism Reconsidered. Chicago: Free 
Press, 1954. 

Rothfels, Hans. German Opposition to Hitler. Chicago: Reg- 
nery, 1948. 

Schwartz, Ernst. Paths to Freedom Through Non-Violence. 
Vienna: Sensen Verlag, 1959. 

Solberg, Richard W. God and Caesar in East Germany. New 
York: Macmillan, 1961. 

Tabata, I. B. The Boycott as Weapon of Struggle. Cape Town: 
All African Convention Committee, 1952. 

Walker, Charles. Organizing for Nonviolent Direct Action. 
Cheyney, Pennsylvania: Charles Walker, 1962. 

Willen, Paul. "Communist Hungary: The Locusts and the 
Briefcases," The Reporter, October 21, 1954. 

Zahn, Gordon C. German Catholics and Hitler's Wars. New 
York: Sheed & Ward, 1962. 

Zinn, Howard. "Finishing School for Pickets," The Nation, 
August 6, 1960. 


African National Congress, 

Ager, Trygve M., cited, 156 

Agrippa, at Rome, 114-15 

Ahimsa, 89, 237 

Allard, Paul, cited, 57 

Allen, Devere, 379 

All-India Non-violent Non- 
co-operation Movement, 239 

All-India Trade Union Con- 
gress, 246 

Alvarado, Pedro de, 232, 234- 

American Friends Service 
Committee, 380 

American government, Tho- 
reau's attitude to, 28-29 

Amos, 11 

Amritsar Massacre, 243, 341, 

Anarchism, and non-violent re- 
sistance, 25 

Anarchists, The, novel, 97 

Andrews, C. F., 379, 380 

Apartheid, 256, 277 

Aristobulus, 113 

Atlanta University, student pro- 
tests, 292 

Ausgleich, Austria-Hungary, 

Austria-Hungary, costs of 
World War I, 318 

Austro-Prussian War, 153-54 

Backlund, Sven, 380 
Baptists, non-violent power, 365 
Barbastro, Luis de, 234 
Barclay, Robert, 218 
Belgian Federation of Labor, 

Belgium, armed defense 
(World War II), 319; costs 
of World War I, 318; general 
strike (1913), 117, 118-25; 
strike against military serv- 
ice, 127-28 

Bellegarrigue, Anselm, quoted, 

Benares, non-violent resistance, 

Benbow, William, and origins 
of general strike, 116 

Bengal, non-violent resistance, 

Bennette, Fred C, 296 

Berk, Robert, 311 

Berolzheimer, Fritz, cited, 68 

Berth, Edouard, 106 

Bettelheim, Bruno, cited, 367 

Beust, Baron, 154 

Bhagavad-Gita, 11 

Bigelow, Albert, quoted, 306 

"Black Act," South Africa, 30, 

Bok, Curtis, cited, 73 

Bombay, non-violent resistance, 

Bondurant, Joan V., cited, 238 

Bose, S. C, 341 

Bourne, Randolph, cited, 69 

Boycott, as weapon of struggle, 

Brahmans, non-violent resist- 
ance against, 92-93 

Brammer, Karl, cited, 129, 131 

Brandt, Richard, 380 

Brant, Stefan, 380 

Brockway, Fenner, 103 

Burgess, E. W., cited, 57 

Burns, C. Delisle, 379 



Bus boycott, South Africa, 258- 

59; United States, 288, 300 
Byrd, Robert, 380 

Cadoux, Cecil J., 12, 31 
Caligula, Caius, 85, 86, 111-15 
Campbell, Alexander, cited, 281 
Case, C. M., 55-66 
Celibacy, necessity for, 32 
Champaran, non-violent resist- 
ance, 91-92 
Charles II, 213 
Charles V, 234, 235 
Chartism, and the general 

strike, 116 
China, and imperialism, 320 
Christ, as Satyagrahi, 31 
Christians, early, and war, 12- 

Church, Norwegian, resistance 

by, 156, 162, 165, 167 
Civil disobedience, in Ghana, 
135-36; India, 93, 245-51; 
Newport News, 307, 308-12 
Civilization, crisis in, 376-77 
Clark, William, cited, 136 
Class rule, and coercion, 50 
Claudius, Appius, 109 
Clausewitz, Karl von, cited, 79 
Clement of Alexandria, 12 
Clive, Robert, 239 
Coe, George, 8, 46-51 
Coercion, morality of, 59-60; 
political, private, 66; and the 
State, 69; and violence, 46, 
47-51, 52-54 
Cohen, Morris, cited, 68 
Committee for Non-Violent Ac- 
tion, 305 
Communist governments, and 

passive resistance, 346—48 
Conflict, inevitability, 77; psy- 
chology of, 336-37 
Congress of Racial Equality, 

288, 289-90 
Cook, Fred J., 380 
Cotton, Henry A., cited, 74 
Criminals, and coercion, 53; 

and non-violent resistance, 

Crombie, Frederick, 13 
Cromwell, Oliver, 210 
Crook, Wilfred H., 116, 118-36 
Cropsey, Joseph, 209 
Cyprian, St., 12 
Czechoslovakia, uselessness of 

armed defense, 319 

Daniels, H. G., cited, 129 

Danish war, 150 

Deak, Francis, 86, 137-38, 

Debs, Eugene V., cited, 61 
De La Boetie, Etienne, 9, 18-20 
De Ligt, Barthelemy, 85, 88- 

De Maeztu, Ramiro, cited, 60 
Delaware Indians, 216 
Democracy, and non-violence, 

Denmark, and passive resist- 
ance, 352 
Derevianko, General, 191-92, 

Destree, Jules, 380 
Deterrence, limitations of, 372 
Dewey, John, 362 
Dillard, Morris, 296 
Disarmament, unilateral, 373- 

Discipline, and 1913 Belgian 

strike, 119-20 
Diwakar, R. R., 379 
Dolci, Danili, 381 
Dominicans, order of, 231, 234 
Donaldson, James, 13 
Dymond, Jonathan, cited, 215 

East Germany, "June Days," 
132-34. 352; Russian sol- 
diers' disobedience. 342. 354 

Ebert, Friedrich, and Kapp 
Putsch, 129 

Eliot. George Fielding, cited, 



Eliot, Thomas D., 380 
Erasmus, Desiderius, quoted, 

Essenes, 12 
Ethiopia, and imperialism, 320 

Fascism, defeat of Austrian so- 
cialists, 104-5 
Felder, Robert, 296 
Fellowship of Reconciliation, 

Feminist movement, non-vio- 
lence, 208 
Fen, Ake, cited, 167 
Fernsworth, Lawrence A., 380 
Finland, and armed defense, 

Fischer, Ruth, cited, 130 
Fiske, John, 207-8, 231-35 
Foch, Ferdinand, cited, 80 
Follett, Mary P., cited, 65 
Fox, George, 210, 218 
France, costs of World War, 

318; armed defense, 319 
Francis Josef, 140-43, 145-47, 

Frank, Jerome D., 379 
Freedom rides, 289, 290 
Freeman, Ruth, 380 
Freud, Sigmund, cited, 69 
Fugitive Slave Laws, 208 

Gandhi, M. K., 208, 379, 380; 
and definition of non-vio- 
lence, 7-8; and Lord Chelms- 
ford, 241; and Martin L. 
King, 291; and origins of 
Satyagraha, 30-45; and re- 
sistance in Champaran, 91- 
92; contributions of, 340—41; 
five stages in non-violence, 
236-37; Indian experiences, 
350; in South Africa, 88-90; 
March to Sea, 247 

Gandhi-Irwin Pact, 239, 249, 

Gastein, Treaty of, 151 

General strike, against military 
service, 127-28; against re- 
turn of Leopold III, 125-26; 
and violence, 116-17; Bel- 
gian of 1913, 117, 118-25; 
first American, 116; Ghana, 
134-36; Haiti, 134; nature, 
German Federation of Labor, 

Germany, costs of World War, 

Ghana, non-violence, 81 
Ghose, Aurobindo, 70, 91 
Gibney, Frank, 380 
Giddings, Franklin H., cited, 64 
Giffen, Peter, 309 
Glasier, John B., cited, 102 
Glynn, Joe, 309, 310, 311 
Godwin, William, 9, 21-23 
Golden Rule, voyage, 306-7 
Goldwin, Robert A., cited, 209 
Government, and compulsion, 
49-50; and morality, 21-22, 
Graham, J. J., 79 
Great Britain, costs of World 

War, 318 
Greece, armed defense, 319 
Gregg, Richard, 9, 67-82 
Griffith, Arthur, 139-55 
Grini concentration camp, 175 
Gunther, John, cited, 136 

Habeas Corpus Act, India, 242 
Haiti, general strike, 134 
Hardie, Keir, general strike 

against war, 102 
Harnack, Adolf von, 12, 13 
Hartsfield, W. B., Mayor of At- 
lanta, 292, 295 
Hassler, Alfred, cited, 73 
Haworth, Neil, 307, 308-12 
Helcias the Great, 113 
Henry, Bill, 311 
Hershberger, Guy F., cited, 7 
Herwegh, Georg, quoted, 97 
Hiller, E. T., 380 



Hindustani Sevadal, role in 
Satyagraha campaigns, 253- 
Hinshaw, Cecil, 317, 332-56 
Hird, in Norway, 161, 162 
History, Jewish providential 

view, 111, 115 
Hitler, Adolf, 366-68 
Holland, armed defense, 319 
Hoist, Henrietta Roland, and 
revolutionary non-violence, 
Hosea, 1 1 

Houser, George M., 380 
Hoye, Bjarne, cited, 156 
Hughan, Jessie W., 317-32 
Hungary, and Dual Monarchy, 
86; Constitution of 1848, 
139; County Councils, 143- 
44, 147-48; imperial rescript 
(1866), 154-55; Manifesto 
(1865), 151-52; nineteenth- 
century history, 137-38; non- 
violent resistance, 137-55; 
revolt of 1956, 370; tax re- 
fusal, 148-49; passive resist- 
ance victory (1867), 155 
Hunter, Allan A., cited, 75 
Huxley, Aldous, 362, 379 

Ideals, and means, 361-63 

India, applied Satyagraha, 238- 
55; brutalities of British rule, 
341; civil disobedience, 93, 
245-51; nature of British 
rule, 369; Rowlatt committee, 
242; Swayamsevakas, 253; 
Trade Union Congress, 246; 
World War I, 240-41; Na- 
tional Congress, 240, 251-53 

Indian relations, in colonial 
Pennsylvania, 211-18 

Inglis, David R., 209 

Invasion, and non-violence, 
316-56, 371-76 

Irish Land League, passive re- 
sistance, 88, 98-99 

Iroquois Indians, 217 

Isaiahs, 1 1 

Jacks, L. P., cited, 69 

James, William, cited, 77 

Jameson, A. K., 157-170 

Jastrow, Rachel S., 68 

Jeremiah, 11, 12 

Jews, ancient, non-violent re- 
sistance by, 111-15 

J0rstadmoen, concentration 

camp, 175-79 

Josephus, Flavius, 111-15 

Josika, Baron, 143 

Journal of Conflict Resolution, 

Jouvenel, Bertrand de, cited, 

Kahn, Herman, 209 

Kapp, Wolfgang, Putsch, 128— 

Karaganda, U.S.S.R. prison 

camp, 190-91 
Kennan, George F., cited, 373 
Khan, Abdul Ghaffar, and non- 
violent resistance, 95-96 
Khudai Khitmatgars, and un- 
armed resistance, 95-96 
Kiel, Treaty of, 251 
King, Lonnie, sit-ins, 295-96 
King, Martin Luther, 289, 290- 

91, 295, 300-^, 380 
King-Hall, Stephen, 82, 209 
Kirkenes, Norwegian concen- 
tration camp, 180-85 
Koestler, Arthur, cited, 73 
Kossuth, Louis, 137, 140, 141 
Ku Klux Klan, and sit-ins, 295, 

Kuper, Leo, 258, 260-85 

Labor Party, Belgium, and gen- 
eral strike, 118-19 

Labor Unions, Norway, and 
German occupation, 160, 
163, 165-66 

Lanz, H., 379 

Lao-tzu, 1 1 

Lapp, Ralph. 381 

Las Casas, Bartolome de, 231- 



Laski, Harold J., cited, 65, 68 
Lassalle, Ferdinand, quoted, 99 
Law, and non-violent resist- 
ance, 27, 303-4 
Lee, Gwendolyn, sit-ins, 298 
Legge, James, 1 1 
Legien, Carl, Kapp Putsch, 130 
Leopold III, Belgium, 125-26 
Lewin, Jules, 381 
Lewis, John, 379 
L'Hopital, Michel de, 18 
Liddell Hart, B. H., cited, 79 
Liebknecht, Karl, 104, 128 
Limited warfare, limitations of, 

Lincoln, C. Eric, 288, 290, 291- 

Lippmann, Walter, cited, 78 
Liquor, and Indian relations, 

Lloyd, George, Bombay, 244 
Logan, James, 216, 218 
London, Jack, cited, 116 
Ludendorff, Erich von, 128 
Luthuli, Albert, 257, 258-59, 

Luttwitz, General von, 128, 129 
Luxembourg, Rosa, 104, 128 

Maas, Adriaan, Polaris Action, 

MacKay, John H., passive re- 
sistance, 97 

McLean, Donald A., cited, 60 

Madariaga, Salvador de, cited, 

Mahaim, E., cited, 119 

Majority rule, and political ob- 
ligation, 364-65 

Malan, D. F., 263, 272, 284 

Maldonado, Alonzo de, and Las 
Casas, 232-33 

Mandela, Nelson, 274 

Marcus Aurelius, reign of, 12 

Maritain, Jacques, 362 

Markham, William, deputy of 
William Perm, 212 

Marriages, Hindu, in South 
Africa, 90 

Marshall, S. L. A., cited, 376 
Martin, Don, Polaris Action, 

Martyrdom, and passive resist- 
ance, 355 
Mashruwala, K. G., cited, 359 
Maslennikov, General, in Vor- 
kuta, 193 
Matthew, Gospel of, 14-15 
Maximilianus, St., 13, 17 
Mayibuy' lAfrika, 262-63 
Meer, Ismail, Natal Indian 

Congress, 266 
Meijer-Wichmann, Clara, and 

non-violence, 102-3 
Mental health, and non-violent 

society, 360 
Merton, Robert K., cited, 67 
Military defense, and Pennsyl- 
vania Quakers, 219-29; in- 
efficiency of, 318-19 
Millis, Walter, cited, 209 
Mokoena, S., volunteer for civil 

disobedience, 275-76 
Mommsen, Theodor, 108-10 
Morality, and threats to kill, 

Moroka, J. S., African National 

Congress, 272 
Morris, William, and non-vio- 
lence, 88, 101-2 
Moscow, walk to, 312-15 
Mounier, Emmanuel, on nature 

of peace, 106-7 
Muste, A. J., 379 
Mysore, non-violent resistance, 

Naicker, G. M., Natal Indian 

Congress, 260-61 
Nasjonal Samling, Norway, 

158-59, 161, 171-73 
Nation-State, abolition of, 360 
National Socialism, rise of, 

Nationalist Party, South Africa, 

Native Pass boycott, 259 
Negro Students' Code, 299-300 



Nehru, Jawaharlal, 95, 253 
Ngakane, W. B., cited, 281 
Niebuhr, cited, 69, 71, 363 
Njongwe, J. L. Z., Cape African 

National Congress, 282 
Nkomo, W. F., cited, 280 
Nkosi Sikelel'iAjrika, 265 
Nkrumah, Kwame, 134-35 
NKVD, Soviet Union, 190, 191, 

194, 195, 203, 204 
Non-pacifists, as visionaries, 50 
Non-resistance, and non-vio- 
lence, 7; and non-violent re- 
sistance, 70 
Non-violence, and changes in 
attitude, 8; and democracy, 
361-65; and emotional limi- 
tations of human nature, 62- 
63; and government, 9; and 
legitimate coercion, 46, 47- 
51, 52-54; and modern weap- 
onry, 9-10; and non-resist- 
ance, 7; and totalitarianism, 
365-71; as a personal ethic, 
7; in colonial Pennsylvania, 
210-30; religious attitudes to, 
Non-violent resistance, anal- 
ogies to war, 77-81; and 
American Negroes, 288-304; 
and criminals, 73-76; and 
Georges Sorel, 97; and inva- 
sion, 316-56; and John 
Ruskin, 88, 100-1; and law 
303-4; and Max Stirner, 97 
and Russian revolution, 99- 
100; and sit-down strike, 105 
and Western culture, 80-81 
and William Morris, 88, 101- 
2; and world community, 72 
Benares, 90; Bengal, 91 
Bombay, 93; Champaran 
91-92; France, 105; Ghana 
134-36; Hungary, 137-55 
India, 238-55; invasion, 3 16— 
56, 371-76; Jews, 111-15 
less costly than war, 81-82 
meaning, 7; moral justifica- 
tion, 364-65; Mysore, 91 

Negroes, 290-304; Newport 
News, 307, 308-12; Norway, 
156-86; Rome, 108-10; 
Sikhs, 95; social context, 86; 
South Africa, 89-90, 256-87; 
Travancore, 92-93; Vorkuta, 

Non-violent society, nature of, 

Norway, armed defense, 319; 
geography and culture, 158- 
59; labor and German occu- 
pation, 160, 163, 165-68; 
local self-government, 158, 
161; non-violent resistance, 
156-86; relations with Swe- 
den, 251 

Noske, Gustav, Kapp Putsch, 

Nott, Katherine, 381 

Origen, and early Christian at- 
titudes, 8, 11, 12, 16-17 

Osgood, Charles, unilateralism, 

Osgood, Robert E., 209 

Outze, B0rge, 381 

Pacifism, and preparation for 
invasion, 322-24; pre-war 
Norway, 159 

Page, Kirby, 8, 46-47, 52-54 

Park, R. E., cited, 57 

Passive resistance, contrasted 
with Satyagraha, 37-39; 
power of suffering, 56-57; 
strategy of, 348-56; victory 
in Hungary, 155 

Paullin, Theodore, 379 

Peace News, 157, 307, 312-15 

"Peace through strength," 208 

Penn family, Indian relations, 

Penn, William, 208, 210, 211, 

Pennington, Isaac, 218 

Pennsylvania, colonial, non- 
violence in, 207, 210-30 



Personality, and non-violence, 

Peter, St., quoted, 287 

Peterloo Massacre, 21 

Petronius, president of Syria, 

Phoenix, voyage of, 306, 307 

Physical force, limitations, 49- 

Playfair, Giles, cited, 73 

Pluralism, and the State, 64-65 

Poland, non-violent resistance, 
365; uselessness of armed de- 
fense, 319 

Police, in colonial Pennsylva- 
nia, 219-20; in non-violent 
society, 360 

Political wisdom, and non-vio- 
lence, 371 

Poverty, and life of service, 32- 

Power, and non-violence, 9, 18- 
20, 67-82, 88-107, 376-77 

Provocateurs, in South African 
riots, 283 

Puritan, image of, 58 

Puma Swaraj, 251 

Quaker, image of, 58 

Quakers, early Indian relations, 
211-15; idea of peace, 218- 
19; military defense in Penn- 
sylvania, 219-29; non-violent 
resistance, 365 

Quiche, Indian language, 234 

Quisling, Vidkun, 158, 161, 
164, 166, 172-74, 182 

Ramsey, Paul, 380 

Revolution, and non-violence, 
103, 104-5 

Reynolds, Earle L., cited, 307 

Richman, Victor, Polaris Ac- 
tion, 311 

Riesman, David, 381 

Roberts, Alexander, cited, 13 

Roman Catholics, non-violent 
resistance, 365 

Romans, Epistle to, 15-16 

Rome, non-violent revolution, 

Ross, E. A., cited, 58 

Rothfels, Hans, 381 

Rowlatt Committee, and repres- 
sion in India, 242, 244 

Rowntree, B. Seebohm, quoted, 

Ruskin, John, on non-violence, 
88, 100-1 

Russell, Bertrand, cited, 377; 
non-violent resister, 305; 
quoted, 70-71 

Russia, costs of World War I, 

Russian attitudes, and non-vio- 
lence, 341-42 

Ruthlessness, and non-violence, 

Ryan, John A., cited, 60 

Satyagraha, and passive resist- 
ance, 37-39; organization of 
Indian National Congress, 
251-53; origins of doctrine, 
30-45; role of Hindustani 
Sevadal, 253-56 

Satyagrahi, code of conduct, 

Scholmer, Joseph, 188-204 

Schwartz, Ernst, 381 

Self-fulfilling prophecy, 67-68 

Sello, S., 275 

Sepoy Mutiny, 240 

Sermon on the Mount, Quaker 
interpretations, 218 

Servilius, Publius, and Roman 
debtor laws, 109 

Shackamaxon, Treaty of, 211 

Shaker, image of, 58 

Sharp, Gene, 157, 170-86, 380 

Sharpless, Isaac, 211-30 

Shelley, Percy B., 9, 23-24 

Shridharani, Krishnalal, 236, 

Sibley, Mulford Q., 209, 380 

Sikhs, non-violent resistance, 95 

Simon Commission, India, 246 



Singh, J. N., Natal Indian Con- 
gress, 260 

Sington, Derrick, cited, 73 

Sisulu, W. M., African National 
Congress, 272 

Sit-ins, 289, 290; strategy of, 

Small, Albion W., cited, 65 

Smuts, Jan Christian, 31, 45 

Socrates, 375 

Solberg, Richard W., 381 

Sorel, Georges, 88; and non- 
violence, 97 

Sorokin, Pitirim, 380 

South Africa, Group Areas Act, 
268, 269, 270; Nationalist 
Party, 265, 284; non-violent 
resistance, 89-90, 208, 256- 
87, 369-70; Pass Laws, 268, 
269; riots (1952), 278-82; 
Separate Representation of 
Voters Act, 268; United 
Party, 265 

Sovereignty, 64 

Spartacists, 128 

Spencer, Herbert, cited, 63, 65 

Sports Associations, Norway, 

Stalin, Joseph, 157 

State, agency of social self- 
direction, 62-65; and vio- 
lence, 69 

Steinberg, J., and non-violence 
in revolution, 105-6 

Stewart, W., cited, 102 

Stirner, Max, and non-violence, 

Storting, Norwegian, 160-61 

Strikes, and ethics of struggle, 

Suffering, as method of persua- 
sion, 56-57 

Sullivan, Herschelle, sit-in, 296 

Swaraj, 245, 251 

Sweden, relations with Norway, 

Sykes, G. M., cited, 73 

Tabata, I. B., 381 

Tagore, Rabindranath, and non- 
violent resistance, 91 
Tait, Lenora, sit-in, 298 
Tao, and non-violence, 14 
Tao Te Ching, 11, 13-14 
Tax refusal, in Hungary, 148- 

Taylor, A. J. P., cited, 138 
Teachers, and non-violent re- 
sistance in Norway, 156, 157, 
164-65, 167, 170-86 
Technical assistance, and un- 
armed defense, 344-46 
Temple, Jerusalem, 111, 112 
Tennet, Gilbert, cited, 220 
Tertullian, and war, 12 
Thandray, N., Transvaal Indian 

Congress, 274-75 
Thompson, Francis, cited, 354 
Thomson, Charles, cited, 215 
Thoreau, Henry D., 25-28 
Tolles, Frederick, quoted, 210 
Tolstoy, Leo, 25, 52, 219, 380 
Totalitarianism, and non-vio- 
lence, 365-71 
Travancore, non-violent resist- 
ance, 92-93 
Trotsky, Leon, cited, 71-72 
Tucker, Benjamin, and passive 

resistance, 97-100 
Tuzulutlan, "Land of War," 

231, 232 
Tyranny, limitations of, 9, 18- 
20, 339-40; relation to slav- 
ery, 96 

Ultimatum, use in Gandhi's 
campaigns, 237 

Unarmed defense, and limita- 
tions of tyranny, 339^40; 
planning for, 375; power of 
freedom, 338; power of pas- 
sive resistance, 340-42; 
power of religion, 338-39; 
power of technical knowl- 
edge, 339; principles of, 324- 

United States, desegregation de- 
cisions, 289; freedom rides, 



United States (cont'd) 
289, 290; sit-ins, 289, 290, 
291-99; unarmed defense, 2, 

Universal military service, gen- 
eral strike, Belgium, 127-28 

Upanishads, 11 

Valerius, Manius, dictator, 110 
Vandervelde, Emile, 119, 121— 

Van Overbergh, Cyrille, cited, 

120, 121, 122 
Violence, and coercion, 46, 47- 
51, 52-54; and general strike, 
116-17; and military de- 
fense, 1; and physical force, 
7-8, 46; conflict between 
ideals and practice, 1, 2; 
limitations of, in treating 
crime, 73-76; problem of 
definition, 8 
Vitellius, president of Syria, 112 
Vorkuta, and non-violent resist- 
ance, 86, 187-204 

Walker, Charles, 381 
Walker, Roy, cited, 156 
"Walking Purchase," 216-17 
Walser, A. A., cited, 78 
War, analogies with non-violent 
resistance, 77-81; and non- 
violent resistance, 371-76; 

appeals of, 76-77; as an in- 
stitution, 70-7 1 ; defensive 
and aggressive, 2; irony of, 
332-33; moral equivalent of, 
342-43; more costly than 
non-violent resistance, 81-82 
War Resisters League, 305 
Ward, Barbara, cited, 136 
Western culture, and non-vio- 
lent resistance, 80-81 
Whiston, William, 111 
Willen, Paul, 381 
Willmer, Harry A., cited, 68 
Windus, Margaret, Polaris Ac- 
tion, 311 
World community, and non- 
violent resistance, 72 
Wright, Richard, cited, 136 

Xuma, A. B., African National 
Congress, 268 

Yahweh, 1 1 

Yengwa, M. B. Natal, 263 

Zahn, Gordon, 381 
Zechariah, 11, 12, 14 
Zerubbabel, 14 
Zimmerwald movement, and 

Henrietta Hoist, 104 
Zinn, Howard, 381 
Zulu war, 32 


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